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Cambodia: Report shows garment workers struggle to repay debts during factory suspensions caused by COVID-19

A joint briefing paper between the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL) and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), researchers surveyed more than 150 workers – most of them women – from three factories in Phnom Penh and Kampong Chhnang to investigate how workers were coping with their debts as hundreds of factories suspended operations as a result of the global pandemic.

The research findings reflect a broken industry. Of the 162 workers surveyed, only four didn’t have any debts. Almost every worker interviewed told our researchers that they wouldn’t be able to repay their debts if their work was suspended. Almost every worker interviewed said that their lives were worse now than before they took the loan.

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