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Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, was a regular work day at Kameda Co., a family-owned apparel factory housed in rusting corrugated metal buildings in Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture. For three Chinese women, it was a day of escape.

At about 6:30 a.m., Ichiro Takahara, a union organizer, rolled up outside the dormitory where the women lived. Lu Xindi, Qian Juan and Jiang Cheng were waiting — they had been secretly plotting this move for months. Takahara drove them to a convenience store and then to the local labor standards office.

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