Stephanie Wilson, an Australian living in New York, found his handwritten note in a bag from the upscale retail store, which read, “We are ill-treated and work like slaves for 13 hours every day producing these bags in bulk in the prison factory.”
When Wilson found the note along with a passport photo of the man in 2012, she began a search for its writer.
She passed the note to the human rights organization Laogai Research Foundation. “I read the letter and I just shook,” she said.
The New York news website DNAinfo said it tracked the note written by Tohnain Emmanuel Njong, 34, reporting he was detained in the Chinese city of Qingdao after a fraud arrest in 2011, a charge he denies. He has since been released and returned to his native Cameroon.
Njong said he wrote five similar letters while in prison, in English and in French, and inserted them into random Saks shopping bags.