Fiche Film
Little Maids
Pays concerné : Cameroun
Genre : société
Type : documentaire


Film documentaires sur les enfants qui servent de domestiques dans les grandes villes africaines.

Réalisatrice / Productrice : Ketsia Fodjon

produit par
Ketsiatek Globale

Distribué par
Distribution : Hollywood Branding International


About the Film

One Sunday afternoon in 2005, while I was a student in Lagos Nigeria, I was introduced to a child broker who procured young girls ages 8-18 from poor families and sold them to wealthy families as house maids. Our paths crossed that day either by fate or chance and the brief encounter impacted my life in a way I would have never imagined.

Little maids are found all over Africa. They come from poor families. The most privileged of these girls have a primary education but the majority never receive a formal education. They carry the burden of cooking, cleaning, washing, and babysitting for a strange family.Very few of these children flourish and enjoy a successful adult life. Most little maids endure harsh treatment including physical, mental, and sexual abuse. Some even perish with their young lives cut short. If they live through their childhood and adolescence, they emerge as young adults with physical and mental scars, frequently suffering from mental illness.

In Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Kenya, Mauritania, Madagascar, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and South Africa, these Little Maids have stories to tell. This documentary will be their collective voice. It will shine a light on their suffering and expose the child brokers who profit from their anguish.

This documentary will infiltrate the underground network of child brokers as they lead poor families to believe that selling their daughters to wealthy families will ensure their children a comfortable life and good education. We will interview former little maids who are now adults. They will share stories of leaving their family, their transition to their new family, and the journey to adulthood.

Each African country has its own version of « little maids ». In Northern Cameroon, girls from ages 8 to 20 years band together and migrate from villages to a larger city such as Maroua. These girls rent a room together and work in stranger’s homes earning no more than USD per month. They save money to fund their dowry and send financial help to their parents. They are more independent than other young girls serving as house maids and will quit a job as soon as their freedom or well-being is threatened. Their solidarity is their strength.

Child brokers in the city of Bamenda secure young girls to work for families in large cities of Cameroon. Parents loan their children on a social contract basis. The children live and work in host families with the hope they will learn skills for future employment as adults. In Yokadouma, a town in southeastern Cameroon, pygmy girls are chosen as house help because of tribal discrimination and the desire for cheap labor. In Benin and Togo, parents sell their daughters to go work in small businesses although they are likely to be treated as child slaves. In Madagascar, when little maids are tired of their ordeal, they find themselves in the street having to prostitute their bodies to get food to eat.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, little maids work for food and do not earn any money. In Senegal, house maids have formed a union defend their rights because of harsh treatment, beatings and sexual abuse.In Mauritania, little girls feel helpless. They are locked up in a culture of silence where laws enacted to reduce child labor are not enforced. In Burkina Faso, little maids begin working as teenagers and prefer working for expatriates because they treat them better. « Our compatriots beat us, insult us, and do not pay us well, » they say.

UNICEF reports that over 30% of the labor force in African countries is children and 90% of house maids are little girls.The practice of using young girls as little maids is deeply rooted in African culture and no film-maker has ever exposed the ugly under-belly of this form of child trafficking until now.

It is my duty and privilege to shoot this documentary to be a voice for the voiceless. I invite you to share this journey with me and help free little maids in Africa. We may not rescue all but we will rescue some.

Director/ Producer
Ketsia Fodjon

Produced by
Ketsiatek Globale

Distributed by
Distribution : Hollywood Branding International
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