American Samoa

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In March 2001, the NLC released "Made in the U.S.A.?  Nightmare at the Daewoosa Factory in American Samoa," which thoroughly documented the exploitation and violently abusive sweatshop conditions faced by more than 230 workers-mostly young women from Vietnam and China-who were held under conditions of indentured servitude.  The workers were cheated of their wages, beaten, starved, sexually harassed and threatened with deportation if they complained.

These workers sewed clothing for Wal-Mart (Beach Cabana label), Target (Pro Spirit label), Sears (David Taylor), David Peyser Sportswear (MV Sport) and J.C. Penney (Arizona), among others.

This is the largest human trafficking case ever investigated in the United States by the FBI and prosecuted by the Justice Department. On Friday, February 21, 2003 in a Federal court in Hawaii, the Daewoosa factory's owner and manager, Mr. Kil Soo Lee, was found guilty on 14 of the 18 counts against him.  On June 23, 2005, Mr. Kil Soo Lee was sentenced to 40 years in prison for holding over the Vietnamese and Chinese guest workers in forced servitude.  While some of the workers opted to return to their home countries, over 200 applied for and were granted asylum in the United States--the first ever for victims of human trafficking.

 

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