This morning, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a community-based organization in Jackson Heights, Queens, is releasing online its second novela gráfica, entitled Ana Busca Trabajo (Ana Looks for Work) on the NICE website. You can download the full copy here.
Starting Monday, November 10, 4,000 copies of Ana Busca Trabajo will reach job seekers across New York through 15 different distribution sites across the 5 boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester County. The organizations involved (listed below) are all part of the Justice for Job Seekers campaign, a coalition of 31 organizations working together to reform New York employment agency laws to end fraudulent and predatory practices.
Additionally, NYC’s largest Spanish language daily, El Diario, will feature the complete novela in their printed edition on Wednesday, November 12th.
The graphic novel aims to educate the community about employment agency fraud, how to detect it and what to do if they fall prey to an agency’s predatory practices. The story is told as a “novela gráfica,” or graphic novel, a popular education tool widely used throughout Latin America and in Latino communities in the United States.
Ana Busca Trabajo is the story of Ana, an immigrant domestic worker, who is defrauded by two employment agencies as she desperately seeks to find work to support her family. One agency charges her fees without ever placing her in a job, while refusing to honor the legally required refund; another sends her to a job with exploitative working conditions. In the end, Ana learns about her rights as a consumer of employment agencies and shares with other job seekers her lessons –learned through ‘consejos’ (tips) to prevent falling into the same traps she did.
Written by, and based on, the experiences of members of NICE, Ana’s story reflects the very real experiences of many low-wage job seekers in New York State:
“…many of us, domestic workers, are suffering because of these employment agencies. They charge us a lot of money only to send us to exploitative jobs. I paid $140 to an agency and they sent me to a place that did not want to pay me my wages. I left that job and went to the employment agency to complain and request a refund, but the woman at the agency yelled at me and refused to return my money.” Francisca Rodriguez, domestic worker, NICE member
For its authors, the reality of the situation in their communities served as inspiration: Continue reading NICE Releases Graphic Novel to Educate Immigrants about Employment Agency Fraud