Cambodia is a busy place, going through many changes – its garment industry is constantly growing and is a mainstay of employment and export. It has the potential to benefit many by providing work, income and skills. But the way in which foreign brands and local factory owners distribute profit and choose to maximise at the expense of their workers makes this potential hard to fulfil. Instead, surviving as a garment worker is a struggle which many thousands of Cambodians face.
The slideshow below stars many of these workers – you can see the hordes of people, mainly young women, arriving at work, walking there with colleagues, arriving by truck from outlying districts, some a long way from the capital Phnom Penh. You can see some of the homes that people wake up to and return to in the evening – the little place with the colourful posters is home to ten workers. It’s a lively and colourful life but one which is made harder by the struggle to earn enough to raise or support a family or pursue the dream of something different.
For some interesting figures and an update on what workers are doing to try and fight for better rights and wages there is an interesting article here.