Target: Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
Goal: End exploitation of garment workers in Cambodia.
In Cambodia, garment workers are being forced to ‘work faster, or get out.’ Frequently producing brand-name clothing for retailers in the United States, the European Union, and Canada, Cambodian garment workers face harsh, discriminatory and exploitative labor conditions at the hands of an apathetic government and shoddy labor union.
Currently, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of garment factories in Cambodia that are violating basic human rights, including labor rights, for the sake of profit. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, most garment industry employees are forced to work beyond 48 hours a week and receive abysmal paychecks as compensation for their labor.
Almost 92 percent of the industry is made up of women, who face more discrimination than their male counterparts. Sexual harassment, lack of breaks, pregnancy-based discrimination and the denial of maternity benefits are common practice amongst Cambodia’s exploitative garment industry. In fact, garment workers are penalized, usually through the docking of pay, for taking medically-approved sick leaves—including pregnant workers.
Despite the enactment of a strong labor law in 1997, the country’s ineffective labor union and government have simply perpetuated the already dire situation. Factory managers are also to blame for the garment industry’s appalling working conditions, as they place profit before morality.
Garment factory workers, especially those that are ailing, pregnant, or women, should not have to face such damning conditions in the workplace. Sign the petition to urge Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia to seriously enforce the country’s labor laws and end the exploitation of these innocent people.
Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,
It has recently come to my attention that garment workers in your country are being treated unfairly, which is a grand understatement. Many of Cambodia’s garment workers toil into the night, as late as 9 p.m., and some are even pregnant or ailing.
The situation is dire. Working conditions are poor, the country’s labor union is ineffective and the government seems largely apathetic. Children are even being hidden by managers or forced to lie about their age so that garment factories can keep operating. Many factories, especially smaller ones, get away with being unlicensed and their working conditions are beyond the gutter.
A pregnant worker shouldn’t be stopped from going to the bathroom, a female garment worker should be harassed by her male co-workers or workplace superiors, and ailing garment workers shouldn’t be forced to work if they possess medically-approved leave.
I urge you to take the human rights and labor rights violations of your country seriously and start paying attention to the atrocities taking place. Please enforce Cambodia’s labor laws and improve the working lives of the country’s garment industry employees.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Forgeresearch via Wikimedia