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WASHINGTON - In the first-ever attempt to hold U.S. retailers and manufacturers accountable for mistreatment of workers in foreign-owned factories operating on U.S. soil, litigation was filed Jan. 13 in California and Saipan against 18 high-profile U.S. clothing manufacturers and retailers.
These include The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, The Limited, J.C. Penny, May Company, Sears and Wal-Mart.
These companies are accused of violating federal law by engaging in a "racketeering conspiracy" using indentured labor - predominantly young women from Asia - to produce clothing on the island of Saipan. (Saipan is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Commonwealth in the South Pacific.)