A Michigan woman says she found an alarming note in a pack of girl’s underwear she purchased over the weekend.
Nicole Perez purchased a pack of Tinkerbell underwear for her daughter at a mom-to-mom sale this weekend and found a handwritten note on a piece of cardboard, ABC News 7 reported. The note read, “Help Me! Plz.”
On the back of the note was a woman’s name, “MayAnn.” It also listed a phone number and read, “Location: Philippines.”
“I was terrified,” Perez told the news station. “I just felt like everything just dropped to my stomach.”
The underwear is labeled “Made in the Philippines.” The product is manufactured by Handcraft Manufacturing Corporation, a company that is based in New York.
Perez said she emailed the manufacturer and received an apology along with an offer of a new pack of underwear.
But the Brighton mother said she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something wrong.
“You’re wondering if this is forced labor, if they're just working long hours, they're putting these underwear together and clearly someone is reaching out for help and so you think about your own kids and you hope that this isn't the case,” Perez said.
The phone number on the back of the note led to no answers. Rebecca Tungol, president of the Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan, speculates the number may have been for a pre-paid cell phone.
On Sept. 24, president of Handcraft Manufacturing Isaac Mizrahi responded to the news station’s inquiry. Mizrahi said the note appears to have been written by a factory worker and that the company is constantly being audited by its licensors and retailers to ensure that their factories comply with labor laws.
Mizrahi added that the first step in investigating the note would be to identify which factory it came from.
Perez said she will be sending the original packaging back to the company so officials can further investigate. She added that she is more aware than ever of what she purchases.
“This can happen to anything that you buy,” Perez said. “You never known, but you are a little bit more aware of where things are coming from.”