Made in Cambodia

Generating $5.5 billion in export revenues in 2013, the garment industry is Cambodia's largest economic sector. Of these exports, approximately $2.1 billion worth of apparel is sent to the US, and $2 billion to the European Union. The exponential growth in the industry over the past decade has been largely due to the low wage costs, combined with a large and young workforce.

Most of the 600.000 garment workers hail from rural areas, where the economy is dominated by subsistence-level farming and where other jobs are few and far between. Mostly young women, they come to work in the garment industry to earn money to support their families back home. Yet the wage for sewing clothes for international brands such as H&M and Gap is only $3.33 a day if they don't work overtime shifts, which can range from 4 to 6 hours extra.

Shifts last 10 hours a day and the working conditions are poor. A lack of proper ventilation in a country where the heat can be suffocating means many workers become sick; most of their income is then spent on medicine, with only a few dollars left over each month for accommodation and food. With 2 to 10 people sharing a few square meters of space, yet spending $20-30 per month for rent, they survive on fish as meat, vegetables and fruits are too expensive for them.

Since 2013, dozens of garment workers have been injured, and at least seven workers have been killed by police forces during  demonstrations where garment workers demanded a higher minimum wage.

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