Rappler animated film about Filipina jailed with her baby wins Best Documentary Award
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) chooses the Rappler animated film, Imprisoned: Raising my baby behind bars winner for the Best Documentary on Migration in the 2019 Migration Advocacy and Media (MAM) Awards.
According to the CFO, this year’s awardees were chosen for having raised public awareness on issues on Filipino migration, advocated the cause of Filipinos overseas, promoted a positive image of Filipinos overseas, and espoused the concepts of migration and development. Awarding ceremonies will be on December 17, 2019.
Imprisoned: Raising my baby behind bars is the story of Joanne*, a young Filipina who became pregnant outside of wedlock while working in Doha for an oil and gas company. Joanne was turned over to the police right after giving birth and imprisoned for having unmarried sex. Joanne, along with her baby, spent 3 years in jail. The animated film exposes the cruelty of zina laws while shining a light on the unexpected solidarity of sisterhood Joanne found among other mothers who were in prison along with her.
While in detention, Joanne kept a journal chronicling her life and shared it with Rappler journalist and Pulitzer Center grantee Ana P. Santos. Imprisoned: Raising my baby behind bars is based on Joanne’s journal and was illustrated by Rappler graphic artist, Janina Malinis. Joanne also voiced the film but requested to remain anonymous.
Through a reporting grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Santos reported on the impact of zina laws in 2017. Santos visited different jails in Qatar and found that an overwhelming majority of the women detained for violating zina laws (which are ironically referred to by the innocuous term “love cases”) are migrant women working as foreign domestic workers.
Last March 7, 2019, Imprisoned: Raising my baby behind bars was screened at the Consortium of Health Universities Global Conference in Chicago, Illinois as one of the documentaries that show how discriminatory laws impact migrant workers’ health and well-being.
The story of Joanne triggered an investigation by Swedish National Radio (SNR) on Swedish healthcare giant, GHP Specialty Care, which operates two hospitals in the United Arab Emirates.
GHP had contracted Swedish mid-wives and nurses to work in these UAE hospitals, and in compliance with local zina laws, may have been involved in the arrest of women who gave birth but were not able to present a marriage certificate.
A reporter from SNR traveled to the Philippines and worked with Santos to interview a migrant worker who had been jailed for the crime of zina in Dubai.
The SNR report series resulted in the Swedish Association for Nurses and Midwives issuing a strong statement discouraging its members from working in countries whose laws would compel them to turn over unmarried women who had just given birth to the police. GHP Specialty Care has contracted an external party to conduct a human rights impact assessment report on its work in one of the hospitals and will be the basis for the company to re-evaluate its operations in the UAE.
The animated film, Imprisoned: Raising my baby behind bars is part of Rappler’s special report series on “Migrant Life in Qatar.” One of the reports, “The OFW debt trap” was awarded Best Report in the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) 2017 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration for its exemplary media coverage on labor migration and fair recruitment of migrant workers. – Rappler.com