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Cambodia: Exponential growth in infrastructure development magnifies debt bondage & modern slavery in brick-making industry

Author: Sheith Khidhir, The ASEAN Post, Published on: 12 November 2018

"Modern slavery's invisible whip," 12 November 2018

A recent Blood Bricks research project has led to a photo exhibition exposing debt-bonded labour in the brick making industry. While the photos show glimpses of just what life may be like for adults and children forced to work under horrific conditions, they also seek to prove that modern slavery should be looked at as a structural problem fostered by global commerce and growth.

The Blood Bricks research project was conducted by Laurie Parsons, a researcher at the Royal Holloway, University of London...

Parsons concerns about modern slavery seems to have its roots in the issue of supply and demand. She puts forth the argument that it is in fact the West which is propagating modern slavery in less developed parts of the world like in Cambodia, and that it is doing so due to demand for infrastructure and development in the country.

According to Knight Frank’s Cambodia Real Estate Highlights for the second half of 2017, 7,413 units of condominiums across 34 projects were recorded. This is an increase of 55 percent compared to the first half of the year.

If imports from the developed world are indeed propagating the modern slavery that allegedly exists in Cambodia’s kilns, then the European Union’s (EU) threat to suspend its Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal with the ASEAN member state could, ironically, become a saving grace for many Cambodian brick-makers. However, while the EU remains Cambodia’s largest trading partner, several countries including China and more recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), may nullify the effects of the EU pulling out...

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Note: To learn more about the Blood Bricks project, you can visit their website.

 

 

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