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Dim prospects for Cambodia's garment workers

Western luxury fashion brands turn a blind eye to the plight of factory workers reeling from the pandemic

Joseph Benny

Joseph Benny

Updated: June 25, 2020 08:16 AM GMT
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Dim prospects for Cambodia's garment workers

Thousands of Cambodian garment workers have lost their jobs. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Cambodia’s textile industry has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and more than 850,000 workers, mostly women, are finding it difficult to make ends meet in the Southeast Asian country.

The US$7 billion textile industry, Cambodia’s backbone, is in the doldrums as major Western retailers are canceling billions of dollars of clothing orders or demanding discounts.

About a third of Cambodia’s 600 garment factories are shut, throwing tens of thousands out of work and leaving them in the lurch as state aid is difficult to come by.

Many are at the mercy of brokers who are assigned by factories to recruit women for off-the-books daily shifts to augment their regular labor force.

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