April 29, 2014
Stephanie Wilson was reaching for a receipt inside a paper shopping bag from Saks Fifth Avenue when she found a letter pleading, “HELP HELP HELP.”
The message, written in blue ink on white lined paper, appeared to be a desperate cry from a man who said he made the bag while being unfairly held in a Chinese prison factory more than 7,000 miles away.
“We are ill-treated and work like slaves for 13 hours every day producing these bags in bulk in the prison factory,” continued the letter, which was tucked into the bottom of the bag. It ended, “Thanks and sorry to bother you.”
“I read the letter and I just shook,” said Wilson, 28, an Australian who lives in West Harlem. “I could not believe what I was reading.”
The note, which Wilson found after buying a pair of Hunter rain boots at Saks in September 2012, was signed Tohnain Emmanuel Njong and was accompanied by a small passport-photo sized color picture of a man in an orange jacket, she said.