El Monte sweatshop tip letter envelope, 1995


This envelope contained a letter and a map from the boyfriend of an escaped sweatshop worker. The map and letter outlines the security measures enacted by the shop, and pleads for swift action. Acting on the tip, investigators from the California Department of Industrial Relations staked out the apartment complex and gathered enough information to obtain a search warrant. On August 2, 1995, authorities raided the site. The working and living conditions they found horrified even these seasoned professionals.

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.

Date Made: 1995

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: California

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering, El Monte, Work, Sweatshops


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: State of California. Department of Industrial Relations. Division of Labor Standards Enforcement

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1996.0292.42aCatalog Number: 1996.0292.42aAccession Number: 1996.0292

Object Name: letterenvelope

Physical Description: paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 10 7/8 in x 8 1/2 in; 27.6225 cm x 21.59 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b4-8b5e-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1431845

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