Indenture Agreement Contract

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 arrested eight operators of the clandestine El Monte garment shop and freed seventy-two Thai nationals who had been working in a form of modern slavery. Workers, recruited in Thailand, were promised good pay and good working conditions. After signing an indenture agreement for $5,000 they were smuggled into the United States with fraudulent documents. The workers were paid about $1.60 an hour with sixteen-hour workdays in horrifying conditions. They were held against their will in a razor wire enclosed complex with an armed guard and were jammed into close living quarters. By 1999, eleven companies Mervyn's, Montgomery Ward, Tomato, Bum International, L.F. Sportswear, Millers Outpost, Balmara, Beniko, F-40 California, Ms. Tops, and Topson Downs, agreed to pay more than $3.7 million dollars to the 150 workers who labored in the El Monte sweatshop. As in most cases of sweatshop production, these companies contend that they did not knowingly contract with operators who were violating the law.
Currently not on view
Associated Place
United States: California, Los Angeles
United States: California, Los Angeles
overall: 14 x 8.5;
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
U.S. Department of Justice. Immigration and Naturalization Service
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
El Monte
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object