Twenty-two years this coming week, 72 undocumented Thai garment workers were freed from their enslavement in El Monte, CA, in suburban Los Angeles.
Many of the garment workers were led out of Thailand by recruiters who promised them well-paying jobs in the United States. Once they arrived in Southern California, they were taken to a compound of townhomes converted into sweatshops, where they were forced to live and work in squalor for years. The workers were heavily guarded day and night and physically threatened if they tried to escape. We are proud of our work, along with other community partners, to fight for the rights of the El Monte workers and to hold their employers and retailers accountable for their enslavement and exploitation.
Unfortunately, their story is not uncommon. Modern slavery is a real problem in the United States. We see all too often how immigrants can be deceived into coming to the United States and exploited by their employers because of their lack of familiarity with our laws and customs.
We are proud of our work to #EndHumanTrafficking on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Our efforts to #EndHumanTrafficking represent just a small cross section of all the work we do to protect our communities.
Skadden Fellow, Impact Litigation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles