El Monte sweatshop tip letter envelope, 1995

El Monte sweatshop tip letter envelope, 1995

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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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
place made
United States: California
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 10 7/8 in x 8 1/2 in; 27.6225 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
State of California. Department of Industrial Relations. Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
El Monte
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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