I was shocked to see that in L.A. alone there are nearly 100,000 domestic workers. I think it is great that this documentary brings light to this subject because it is a hidden issue for various reasons. For one, many of the domestic workers in the U.S. are undocumented workers so it is difficult for a domestic worker to turn to the government for protection.
One question that came to mind during the beginning of the film--why did any of these workers move to the U.S in the first place? They receive no benefits, low wages, and at times mistreatment from employers. It then became all too clear that moving to the United States for work is, in a sense, a lesser of two evils. One can work in the U.S. as a domestic worker and make money to live, but work like a dog and become estranged from their children. OR they can be with their children back home and live in squalor with no money. For example, Judith, a woman who had been separated from her family as she worked in the U.S., hadn't seen her children in 3 years. As the cameras followed Judith back home for the first time in years I understood why someone would want to leave those conditions. Judith explains that for her family to live back in their country she must send them money for food and rent every 15 days.
Another one of the women in the film worked for an older lady and a few things the employer said raised some questions for me. The employer, old lady, says she is friends with her domestic worker and that they mutually care for one another. Of course it's natural for a human being to form connections with someone after repeated contact, but at what point can you expect these aspects be expected in a work relationship. I can only assume that the initial job description did not include "friendship." To me, this is an example of what we were talking about on Monday--emotional labor.
Additionally, this same employer went on to say, "everyone needs help, it's essential." The first thing I thought was who helps the domestic worker? It seems that all of these domestic workers are doing physically/emotionally/mentally draining work, yet they are receiving low wages and no benefits.