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saks fifth ave. shopper finds prison laborer\'s secret cry for \'help\' inside shopping bag

by:Xilong      2019-10-07
Serena Solomon in New York City
Stephanie Wilson took a receipt from a paper shopping bag on Saks Fifth Avenue and found a letter pleading for \"help \".
\"This message is written on white lined paper in blue ink, and it seems to be a man crying in despair, he said he made the custom backpacks while being held unfairly at a Chinese prison factory more than 7,000 miles away. \"We are ill-
\"In the prison factory, treat and work like a slave for 13 hours a day, producing these bags in bulk,\" continued the letter hidden at the bottom of the bag.
It\'s over, \"Thank you, I\'m sorry to bother you.
Wilson, 28, said: \"I read this letter. I just shook it . \" He lives in West Harlem.
\"I can\'t believe what I read.
\"Photo: Stephanie wilsong signed Tohnain Emmanuel Njong on a note found after buying a pair of Hunter rain boots in Saks on September 2012 with a small passport --
The color photo of the size of the photo is a man wearing an orange jacket, she said.
The back of the letter also included Yahoo\'s email address, triggering a search for the whereabouts of mysterious people.
Wilson presented the letter to the old cover Research Foundation in Washington, D. C. C. -
An advocacy organization established to combat human rights violations in Chinese prisons.
A representative confirmed to DNA Info New York that the nonprofit foundation began to use its contacts on the ground and online to investigate.
But when Njong\'s Yahoo mailbox was returned, the nonprofit could not find him.
Harry Wu, founder of the Laogai Research Foundation, spent 19 years at a Chinese prison factory called Laogai.
He said he took steps to verify the letter and believed that Njong was taking a huge risk in writing and sending it.
\"There will be solitary confinement before you confess, and maybe they will increase your sentence later --
Even death . \"
His organization forwarded the letter to the Department of Homeland Security, which investigated allegations of American companies using forced labor to produce products.
Stephanie Wilson found a letter in 2012 hidden in Saks shopping bag on Fifth Avenue, when she bought a pair of Hunter rain boots at the department store.
The letter claimed to be a man from China who was wrongly imprisoned.
Photo: DNA info/Serena Solomon Homeland Security officer confirmed to DNA info that they were informed of the letter but could not say if they were investigating the letter or were investigating the connection with the letter
Nor can they discuss Wilson\'s claim that the Department of Homeland Security agent interviewed her in June 2013.
But an official with the Department of Homeland Security said it was not the first letter of request from China to eventually reach the U. S. coast.
According to Kenneth Kennedy, senior policy adviser to the Department of Homeland Security, the department was told that a woman in Oregon released international news on 2012, when she found a similar letter, the letter details the abuse and torture of labor in Chinese prisons because it was bought by her at Kmart
Although the New York Times later tracked the person who said he wrote the letter, the Oregon letter was anonymous.
According to Tiffany Bourre, a representative of Saks Fifth Avenue confirmed that the store received a notice from the old cover Research Foundation on December 2013 and said that the company took the charge seriously, also a spokeswoman for Hudson Bay, the company acquired a controlling stake in the famous department store in last December.
Bourre said that Saks does have paper shopping bags made in China, but the company is unable to identify the specific source of bags containing Njong letters and photos.
Bourre added that Hudson Bay is currently ensuring that all suppliers meet the new company\'s standards on workers\' rights.
\"HBC has a strict social compliance program that outlines our zero tolerance policy, including forced labor,\" she said . \". Two U. S.
According to Kennedy, the law stipulates that it is illegal to import products made by slaves, prisoners or contracted labor into the United States.
However, it is difficult for the Department of Homeland Security to prove how much a company knows about its own supply chain.
Do you have any practical knowledge [
Slave, prisoner, or contracted labor? ]
Or do they avoid knowing or seeing knowledge? \" Kennedy said.
\"All this has to do with the investigation.
A legal provision known as a consumer demand exemption, Kennedy calls it \"the fatal weakness of these laws,\" and \"if domestic consumption is not met, green light can also be imported, regardless of the type of labor used.
Use now in recent weeks-
DNA Info found an inactive email address and social media account and he said he wrote the letter Wilson found. In a two-
In an hour\'s telephone interview, a man who claimed to be Njong said he wrote the letter within three hours.
Qingdao, the eastern city of Shandong province, was sentenced to one year in prison.
Njong inadvertently described some vague details in the letter, such as referring to Samuel Eto\'o, a professional football player from the top English league Chelsea team, who likes Njong from Cameroon in West Africa.
He added that he wrote a total of five letters while in prison
He said that some were hidden in French in bags marked with French words and others in English in bags.
The 34-year-old said he taught English in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and was arrested in May 2011 and charged with fraud, saying he had never committed such a crime.
He said he was detained for 10 months while waiting for the government.
His lawyer was represented in court trials and judgments.
He said he was banned from contact with the outside world.
Njong\'s arrest and imprisonment was confirmed by his legal aid lawyer in China, whose name, DNA Info, was detained for the protection of his lawyer.
The Cameroonian embassies in Beijing and Washington did not respond to emails and phone calls from reporters.
The Chinese embassy in New York did not respond to requests for comment.
Enrong said he was imprisoned in the eastern city of Qingdao, Shandong province, and was forced to work in a factory for a long time from 6 in the morning. m.
Not until 10. m.
He sometimes makes paper shopping bags with a saw, and sometimes puts together electronics or sewn clothing.
Every prisoner must meet the daily production quota, Njong said.
He said he and other criminals were given a piece of paper and a pen to record their productivity.
He secretly wrote a letter with that pen and paper.
\"We have been monitored,\" Njong said . \".
\"I wrote it under the bedspread so no one saw me writing anything.
He said he hoped the letter would help find him.
\"Maybe this custom backpacks can go somewhere and they find this letter and they can let my family or anyone know [know]
\"I\'m in prison,\" explains enrong.
Njong said he was released on December 2013.
He was commuted for good behavior.
He said he was sent on a plane back to Cameroon, where he was reunited with relatives who did not know what had happened to him and believed he was dead.
After struggling to find a job in his home country, Endon recently moved to Dubai and found a job that allowed him to stay there.
He said that while his imprisonment was carried out without intervention, he was pleased that his letter had fallen into the hands of at least one person.
\"This is the biggest surprise of my life,\" Njong said . \".
\"I\'m just glad someone heard me cry.
Wilson, who had never spoken to Grace, said she had been considering his request for help.
She has been keeping an eye on the products she purchased and where they were produced to avoid the labor of sweatshops, but she never thought about worrying about ordinary products such as shopping bags.
Over the past four years, Wilson has been working in international social responsibility for non-profit organizations.
\"This is the biggest eye --
\"My opening remarks,\" Wilson said . \".
\"I never thought that people would make my shopping bags or other consumer goods, such as the packaging of the food I bought, or the pen I wrote, or the plastic fork I used for lunch.
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