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Because BFC’s mandatory monitoring is limited to export-oriented factories, its monitoring services extend to such subcontractors only where brands and factories identify them and pay for BFC services.Hiring practices also influence labor law compliance.The Cambodian government is primarily responsible for ensuring compliance with international human rights law, including labor rights.However, international clothing and footwear brands have a responsibility to promote respect for workers’ rights throughout their supply chains, including both direct suppliers and subcontractor factories.This report—based on interviews with more than 340 people, including 270 garment workers from 73 factories in Phnom Penh and nearby provinces, union leaders, government representatives, labor rights advocates, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, and international apparel brand representatives—documents those working conditions, identifies key labor rights concerns voiced by workers and labor rights advocates, and details the failure of Cambodia’s labor inspectorate to enforce compliance with applicable labor laws and regulations.The report also examines the role of the Better Factories Cambodia, an International Labour Organization factory monitoring program launched in 2001.Some factories, especially those working on a subcontracting basis for larger factories, also employ workers on a casual daily or hourly basis.These workers face additional barriers to unionizing and filing complaints about working conditions.
Women constitute about 90 percent of the workforce in Cambodia’s garment industry.
Leouk Thary, in her 20s, worked in a garment factory on four-month short-term contracts that her managers repeatedly renewed.
One day in November 2013 she had a bad nosebleed and sought exemption from overtime work.
Even though her managers told her to continue working, she went to see a doctor.
She returned the next day with a medical certificate requesting sick leave for nose surgery. Workers in Cambodia’s garment factories—frequently producing name-brand clothing sold mainly in the United States, the European Union, and Canada—often experience discriminatory and exploitative labor conditions.