The Nanny Business: A Documentary on the Plight of Filipina Nannies in Canada

(c)The Nanny Business. Used by permission

Edelyn Pineda holds a picture of her daughter

On our family vacation in Vancouver Canada, the Wife and the Brother-In-Law were buying atis and lanzones in Granville Island‘s public market, so I minded the kids.  While I was watching them, I noticed some Filipinas who were also taking care of children.  These children were white and didn’t look like hapas, so I figured that the Filipinas must have been nannies.  I had heard about Filipina nannies in Hong Kong, and I met some when I went there.    As many people migrated from Hong Kong to Vancouver, Canada, it appeared to me that the custom of hiring Filipina nannies seemed to go with them.

In the Philippines, I had heard the occasional story of exploitation and abuse by employers of Hong Kong nannies.    The documentary The Nanny Business talks about the exploitation and abuse of Filipina nannies not in Hong Kong but in Canada.  A Canadian law offering fast track residency for immigrant caregivers has caused Filipinas to seek nanny jobs in Canada.  The documentary follows some of these Filipinas.   Edelyn Pineda paid thousands of dollars to a Canadian recruiter and then arrived in Toronto to find that her “employer” did not want her services.    She had no money or a place to stay.  Joelina Maluto lived in her recruitment agent’s basement with 16 others for two and a half months before getting a job where her employer forced her to work 18 hour days.   Journalist Susan McClelland puts their stories in a larger context.  “I’ve written about sex trafficking, but caregiver trafficking is something we are now finding out about too,” she says.  Her article on this subject won a Canadian Amnesty Award.

The Nanny Business was written by Shelley Saywell and produced by Deborah Parks.  It will be broadcast on Global Television’s summer documentary series ‘Currents’ on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 10 pm.

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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