LOS ANGELES (Nov. 10, 2011) — The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, has unveiled an animated video short to inform the general public about the exploitation of immigrant workers here in the United States.
The informative, animated short is based on the true-life harrowing story of 72 Thai laborers who were held captive and forced to work 18-hour days for many years in a Southern California sweatshop.
Produced by Elaine Tang, a longtime volunteer and Harvard-Westlake intern at APALC, the animated short was developed with the help of Xing Xing Digital, a leading digital animation company located in Beijing, China. Earlier today, Lifeng Wang, president of Xing Xing Digital, attended a private screening of the video at APALC.
The animated short depicts APALC’s advocacy on immigrant workers’ rights through the journey of Thai women who were enslaved as garment workers at a sweatshop in El Monte in 1995.
APALC, along with its community partners, secured the release of the 72 Thai workers who were imprisoned behind razor wire and watched by armed guards. They were forced to work up to 18 hours daily under deplorable work conditions and paid less than a dollar an hour.
With APALC’s assistance, the Thai workers joined with 22 Latinos who co-labored in a downtown front shop and brought a ground-breaking lawsuit which resulted in a favorable settlement and more importantly, a key ruling on corporate responsibility in the garment industry. The workers became strong advocates for workers’ rights and helped pave the way for the strongest anti-sweatshop legislation in the country.
APALC assisted them in securing their legal status and by 2008, dozens of the El Monte workers became citizens and celebrated their long journey in making America, a country that they challenged to live up to its ideals, their permanent home.
The animated short can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L58H61NGmUE.
The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, is the nation’s largest Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year.
Founded in 1983, APALC’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, APALC seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AAPI community while also building a strong AAPI voice for civil rights and social justice.