Chantan, 34, has worked in the garment factories on the outskirts of Phnom Penh for 12 years. Working six days a week, and with as much overtime as possible, she rarely gets to see her two children who stay with relatives in the province that she works so hard to provide for. A witness to the mass faintings caused by exhaustion, heat and chemicals used to make clothes, Chanthan, who rents a tiny room with several others, prefers to work the night shift as it offers a slightly higher salary than the meagre $100 a month the workers have been fighting to have increased. The drawback is the difficulty sleeping during the daytime heat and noise from outside.
In January 2014 police shot dead 5 protesters campaigning for a higher minimum salary.
Cambodia’s garment industry accounts for a reported 80% of the country’s exports and manufactures clothes for international brands such as H&M, Nike, GAP, Primark Addidas and many more.