For years, a unassuming apartment complex in El Monte, a residential suburb of Los Angeles, housed one of the most horrific sweatshops the country had ever seen. Seventy two Thai nationals who had been trafficked into the country illegally and stripped of their passports, were held captive while being forced into arduous labor for up to 18 hours a day. Unable to leave the compound, or in some instances even go outside, the workers in this factory from hell resigned themselves to the horrid reality that took the place of their American dream. This operation existed for the better part of a decade, moving shop at any sign of suspicion. Rumors of this "Ghost Factory" circulated throughout the LA garment industry, as investigators chased leads and attempted to build a case.
Our story centers on the experiences of the survivors of this case. It is told through their testimonies, as well as those of the investigators, social workers, and legal team who brought justice to the perpetrators of this heinous crime, and gave the victims a chance at a new beginning. By finally capturing the definitive account of this case of modern-day slavery, we hope to broaden awareness of this event while drawing attention to the continuing struggle to end the trafficking of human lives. We also hope to shed some light on the dark corners of the contemporary production chain, which have driven down the price of clothing for consumers, at the incalculable human cost of the victims still enslaved within this system.