First Look: Amadou Fled Mauritania and the "Highest Rate of Slavery in the Entire World" in Netflix's Living Undocumented

First Look Clip from Living Undocumented / Courtesy of Netflix

As we witness what appears to be an immigration crisis in America, it’s important to remember the people behind the statistics and politics. They are the people you share space with every day who often live in fear that their next moment may be their last in a country they contribute to, just because they don’t have paperwork that states they are a citizen.

Enter Netflix’s upcoming documentary series, Living Undocumented.

The official synopsis, via Netflix:

In 2018, eight undocumented families took the extraordinary risk of allowing film crews to chronicle their lives as they faced potential deportation. Ranging from harrowing to hopeful, their journeys illuminate and humanize the complex U.S. immigration system. Living Undocumented depicts the struggles many must endure in their quest to pursue the American dream.

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The series is co-directed by Aaron Saidman (who also executive produces with Eli Holzman under Industrial Media’s The Intellectual Property Corporation banner) and Anna Chai.

Living Undocumented is designed to illuminate one of the most important issues of our time,” Saidman stated. “But rather than discussing this issue with only statistics and policy debates, we wanted viewers to hear directly from the immigrants themselves, in their own words, with all the power and emotion that these stories reflect.”

As stated in the above clip, Mauritania not only has the highest slavery rate in the world, it was the last country to officially outlaw slavery—in 1981. Still, the official decree was “nothing more than a facade to appease the international community” and the brutal practice continues today. Specifically, 20-30% of the population is currently enslaved in some manner.

The risks are immense, as immigrants who are returned to Mauritania lose their rights, including the ability to obtain a passport. In the documentary, you will meet Amadou, who fled to the United States from Mauritania in 1991.

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“I chose to produce this series, Living Undocumented, because over the past few years, the word immigrant has seemingly become a negative word,” executive producer Selena Gomez stated. “My hope is that the series can shed light on what it’s like to live in this country as an undocumented immigrant firsthand, from the courageous people who have chosen to share their stories.”

Mandy Teefey, Anna Chai and Sean O’Grady also executive produce the series.

Living Undocumented premieres on Netflix Oct. 2.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.