This contract is an indenture agreement between Relax Centre Co. Ltd., of Bangkok and 33-year-old Sirilak Rongsak. These indenture agreements obligated the workers to pay 120,000 baht (about $5,000 in 1997) in return for being smuggled into the United States to work for the company for three years, after which they would return to Thailand. This type of contract kept the workers in debt peonage, giving management another form of control over their labor.
On August 2, 1995, police officers raided a fenced seven-unit apartment complex in El Monte, California. They arrested eight operators of a clandestine garment sweatshop and freed 72 workers who were being forced to sew garments in virtual captivity. Smuggled from Thailand into the United States, the laborers’ plight brought a national spotlight to domestic sweatshop production and resulted in increased enforcement by federal and state labor agencies. The publicity of the El Monte raid also put added pressure on the apparel industry to reform its labor and business practices domestically and internationally.
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U.S. Department of Justice. Immigration and Naturalization Service