Chinese Labor Camp Worker Hides Letter for Help in Halloween Decorations Sold in U.S.
Julie Keith, a vehicle donation manager at a Portland, Oregon Goodwill store, considered donating an unopened $29.99 Kmart graveyard Halloween kit.
However, Keith opened the box to decorate her home, just days before Halloween.
Inside the box, Keith found a paper and folded into eighths, tucked between two Styrofoam headstones, reports OregonLive.com.
The letter, with misspellings, described conditions at the Masanjia Labor Camp in Shenyang, China:
"If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever."
"People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month)."
Ten yuan is about $1.61. The letter concluded:
"People who work here, suffer punishment 1-3 years averagely, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment). Many of them are Falun Gong practitioners, who are totally innocent people only because they have different believe to CCPG. They often suffer more punishment than others."
Unsure of what to do, Keith posted it on Facebook and wrote: "I found this in a box of Halloween decorations."
The Facebook post sparked tons of responses. Some offered help, others asked for updates.
Finally, the Oregonian newspaper informed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the letter. ICE's Homeland Security Investigations began looking into the letter, which also caused a response from Kmart executives.
Sears Holdings Corporation, which operates Kmart, recently released a statement: "Sears Holdings has a Global Compliance Program which helps to ensure that vendors and factories producing merchandise for our company adhere to specific Program Requirements, and all local laws pertaining to employment standards and workplace practices."
"Failure to comply with any of the Program Requirements, including the use of forced labor, may result in a loss of business or factory termination. We understand the seriousness of this allegation, and will continue to investigate."