tv Doc Film - Bearing the Burden - The Mule Women of Melilla Deutsche Welle April 23, 2018 9:30am-10:00am CEST
when i was talking on t.w. own they'd use the female superhero condemnation to chatters smart women aspas smartass smarts trash and legend has it by no means missed out on hammering creasing lean dangerous stuff i have. made for my. mama southern periphery of europe men and women are the so-called mules of a lucrative trade the loads they holler cross the border are regarded as hand luggage and exempt from duty providing a business opportunity for unscrupulous traders and smugglers. to sit at the head a whole of course it's tiring effort but you just have to keep going because you have your family to feed in some of them up fourteen or fifteen years old but i'd never let my children do that.
for sixteen years now nor a cuckoo who has been toiling away as a party a daughter or female porter. and if my name is nora and i'm forty three years old i live in rented accommodation in value. i have six children and i am a widow of life as a smuggler is tough and things are getting increasingly difficult at the border so the whole burden rests on my shoulders when my husband was alive he paid half the rent and he took the children to school and looked after us now i have to see.
everything housekeeping the cooking the kids' homework i'm responsible for everything last night i made a joke i told my children i was going to leave them they burst into tears what am i going to do it's a fight for survival it's. a spanish semi enclave on the mediterranean coast of north africa and has become famous in recent years through images of people scaling fences to enter but there are other reasons why this place is so singular economically malea lives from tax concessions and border traffic the proximity to morocco and that's to the african continent opens up a coveted market. after cattle twenty is a trade unionist and melia and of moroccan descent. ejaculations the exploitation of the disadvantaged and underprivileged people on the border
including the mule women. when the best available than the owner she had the water i saw these women for the first time when i was seven or eight because we lived quite near the border it was perfectly normal to see them working between malea and morocco and it's a form of survival because there are no jobs neither in malaya nor in morocco the only way to ensure a daily income is to join the smuggling business and carry the packages. and the porters are the final link in the smuggling chain in malaya you. go to the other one the smugglers earn millions of euros on the border on the other side there is the government which profits from the local it's a levy and other taxes a lot of profit is being made but it's not being distributed fairly the wearing on who shoulders the heaviest burden rests. in the least.
how low mahmoud can we get together later and deliver food to some of the women i've arranged to meet. would four or five packets be ok. thanks i'll see you later. it's early morning at the body of chino border crossing a normal days it's open for three hours during which up to three thousand americans cross over to collect their loads for transport on this particular day the border is closed to goods traffic no reason has been given nor a kook who is one of the few portier daughters to be let through abdul qadir a fundie is already expecting her. gas. i get up at
three in the morning wash pray wake the children and prepare their school sandwiches and thermos flask so i lock the door and go and wait in the first queue if i know any of the police officers they let me through a year. a marathon marie smith a marriage when i arrive in i have to wait in a queue with the women normally we each carry one bale but if the gallery has a view a nice i'm allowed to carry two women one on my back and the other on a skateboard we are paid on delivering provided nothing was stolen and everything is intact then i get twenty euros. romani yen works for the severe police and border patrol force and malea. here at the interface between africa and europe the fences are getting higher and higher but they cannot stop the info. trade pro man yen monitors the goods traffic
on the border between spain and morocco. well on his daily patrols he comes into contact with his moroccan colleagues everything ok so there is the almost and we are now at the end of the border. device lab idea the border is marked by various sections i'm by white signs with the designation a one. core america all three automakers are buddha the fences eight meters high in all there are three fences all made of fine mesh special wire by tomorrow in a lab or tell me that there are no jobs in morocco or any chance of social advancement the health care and education systems are both very expensive so these
women come here to try and build a life. that. is part of spain but doesn't belong to the european customs union the duty free transport of goods is actually illegal but it is tolerated as long as only hand luggage is involved irrespective of the weight you know. doesn't belong to the european customs union there is no value added tax here just the local. i couldn't emotionally and autonomous municipal tax which is lower than the tax rate in spain. and his partner. for centuries melia was a spanish colony on african soil after morocco gained independence malaya remained spanish but even today the enclave is not recognized by the kingdom of morocco. so the question is how much longer will smuggling three million be tolerated experts estimate the g.b.
free trade to be worth three hundred million years a year a large proportion of which flows straight into municipal coffers. on the sea front however there is little sign of the important trade being conducted on the border. not hunted up to have their imports both close from europe and asia. he's a trader who like his father and grandfather before him runs one of the warehouses today its doors remain shut now hammett is furious he reckons he could lose a lot of money. program army money. the problem is that they've closed the border it's an international border and nobody knows why it has been closed we want the government to give us a reason. and our allies and there will be a look for giving a year or. so i go.
with the good work that we're not a moment of rather sure there are large profits to be made and the autonomous municipality of malea also earns from the trade we do well from the business of course that's normal but the government earns three times more from it than we do. he stores the goods the various traders in his warehouse financed with a loan from the municipality. actually i want the secretary or there are bales here full of secondhand clothes destined for the third world. but. this is all clothing shoes skirts trousers. clothing more clothing socks trousers. shoes perhaps and more clothing. this is bedding my blankets even
more clothing. what you see here is worth between one hundred fifty and two hundred thousand euros for me although. there are no checks at the border to see if the bells contain any additional hidden items. who exactly makes money out of smuggled second hand goods nobody wants and how can this kind of exploitation with duty free hand luggage on european soil be justified after my leak and back honey is spain's first muslim prefect he sees both sides to the mule women issue a practice which he tolerate spec doesn't approve of. but you cannot possibly the work of the porter goss has many effects come along with some of his in one i find it inhuman always hard and sometimes the cause of many problems especially health related bodies probably most probably most dissolute i personally do not like that
i mean it is not good for them or for us or for the rest of the world to me but i used. to. but i am morocco is trying to lower the tax on imported goods to make them cheaper but if that happens one day goods will then be supplied straight to morocco and will not come in via. me but until that day arrives melia will continue to play an important role for the entire north african hinterland not. the bottleneck which separates spain from morocco. only a few hundred metres long the fact that the border is closed will have dire consequences especially for the mule women their hard work provides women like nora with a fluctuating income of around three hundred euros a month. to now we carry a lot across the border and when it's crowded and you are stuck you can't put your nose down they tell you you've just got to wait but then i get these pains which
can last for up to three weeks the cord digs into your skin and leave scars. if it's simply too late i pray that god will take care of my children i've been suffering for as long as i can remember i was already working at the age of ten i worked for my parents and my grandmother i'm used to suffering i've worked ever since i was little if only i had a small house then everything wouldn't be so hard to take off quite a shock. the rent is killing me. more.
the better you geno border crossing point it's seven am there's every indication that today the border will be opened and the transport of goods will continue people are flocking here from all over. the middle men are also gathering at the border. course of the government to do and i've been here since. yesterday afternoon i slept here and now i'm waiting to deliver my goods if the goods alight i give them to the women and they tie them to their backs if the weight is more than sixty kilograms we give the goods to the men you know and now it is sixty yet it is. not a l. cook who has been waiting in line for two hours now she makes
a dash for it if she can get a bill quickly she'll be able to do several trips the packages the women carry off and do way more than sixty kilos today more and more men are also earning a living by transporting goods the competition is tough. both abdelkader air of fun tea and roman yen are watching events each from his own perspective. that of course it is not my personal responsibility to safeguard the health of the people here but it is the responsibility of the guardia civil there it is about the people from the men and the women we have to ensure that they stay physically sound in nasiriyah africa. you know so many of you on the men have to form one line the women another but the women are allowed through first and then the men the homeless. and the you
where you from. the. market i thought of. absolute had there is looking for nora she's not easy to find amidst all the commotion. and. finally he spotter. it's like a war zone. you've just got to stick at it. we will never live with these women or at great risk killing and they never went to school so most are illiterate. reassume and they don't know how they should behave so they are the ones who need help most of the supposed looking men do the necessary thing.
to carry years you special skateboard so they can push their packages up him. if they are still of you'll want to the idea came from a colleague in the wadi a civill who wanted to help people in particular women to transport the heavy pails because this was hand-made. only you can see it's wood this wheel comes from a roller skate. the skate board helps to roll the bales uphill up or that it will. the. distribution of the bells which can weigh as much as a washing machine gets underway nora is one of the first to collect a load. that we wait here fairly severe who allocators if we're lucky the women go first and then the men at the table. nora is out of luck the men are the first to be let through the transport process
is divided up into several stages chime in again it's a case of rolling pushing waving and then returning to the friend. look the men always come first you. want to start a new one how long have you been doing this. than you're listening even if. you want to see your face i knew she worked for six years on the main border point. and then here. on the news a hermitage you how long have you been working in body or chino just another year and a half and they're not exactly theatrically we have here are they going to tell you she's been earning a living here with dignity for ten years been i mean really how are you. now it's the women's turn they are driven like mules and have to wait repeatedly
many hide their faces. they're ashamed to be seen doing this kind of work. now there was a minute this isn't work it's war it's killing us. you can't have. the endless waiting delays transportation and heats up the general mood but the carriers seem remarkably patient. in the fire. you know that you know that's a moment. mohammad's a trader is at the border to check that his goods really do make it across as duty free hand luggage good for the poor we have three who are crossing points this is an international border that has been closed and the official explanation is that there is a technical problem with your program or tell you that you don't already know the sender these women have to earn money to buy food so if they are prevented from
doing this work they will suffer i love though they already are suffering the you know why they carry so much it wants to look at the world because they're only allowed to cross the border once a book or something if they could cross it several times they'd only carry small packages weighing five kilos but the spanish authorities won't allow that for the report. today the human mules are in luck they are allowed to cross the border several times with goods. yes and another trick up again and try to get to them. and then they end up going to the phenomenon of things. that they're. doing this round of trips will be the last of the day the atmosphere is getting
heated nobody wants to be stuck with their goods so everybody tries to dodge that you. hand. the problem of the committee because the problem with informal trading is that there are too many diverging interests have a solution not put a lot simpler the smugglers say the border isn't open long enough. in the way the government says the border isn't there just for smuggling in trade but i want. him to say look you know. i think morocco and spain need to get together and talk about what they have to find a solution otherwise nothing will change by that point i don't know what was your most.
of us who got you can it's a question of necessity of course it is also a form of exploitation but nobody forces the men all the women to do the work i really thought i said that i was. nor i has no choice if she has to feed her children she has to haul and heave up to three hundred kilograms of goods over the border every day no matter how much her her back. yeah cry if the work hasn't been too tough you get home at eleven in a good mood with the thirty euros i have earned i go shopping pay off some of my debts and make the children something to eat. you know. so i'm glad just to be back at home hear hear you say the fact that
nora always carries a photograph of her deceased husband and their children with her i mean i was working for a woman just after i'd given birth she wanted to find me a job in the strawberry fields if he looks like he is still alive. crikey i do my best i'm and i have to be strong otherwise my children will suffer even if i've had a hard day i'd tell them i'm fine i lied to the you has a cause there's a way to. save up be to god helps everyone provided you do everything right life for me is tough i just have to make the best of it.
hunty is already on the move again he's come to this month to meet someone. this is on the phone the. only that little bit there is a fund financed by the countries of the european union the food industry donates pastor and milk for regions in desperate need as we have seen the crisis in spain has plunged many people into poverty maybe took a liking to see we're going to find. this food bank was created to help them. develop a sauna. as often as he can he delivers the food to women at the meeting
point emelia. basket up what that it would. is far more the gateway to africa than to europe. then another here the working conditions alone are totally different from those in europe and we have a lot of problems to cope with migration street children poverty social. and the plight of young people we have the lowest standard of education in europe and at the same time the highest unemployment figures are either there where the politicians are doing nothing to improve the situation all they are interested in is obtaining more aid so they can fill their pockets you know that but out of our. somewhat equal hello how are you right come with me then what about the toll woman where is she. there was it what is it serves over there they wouldn't let her
across the border. that's fate you're right. there you are abduct her dad distributes packages of food to the mule women many of them are dependent on the donations. i feel bad because many have waited in vain i don't have enough food. how do you think i feel. let's hope we can work again on monday. it remains to be seen whether the border will be opened again on monday what is certain is that at five o'clock tomorrow morning nor el kuko will again be standing by the fence and enter the end human working conditions on europe's outer border is nowhere in sight a brutal form of exploitation in europe but for nora it is her livelihood.
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