Addressing Factory Violations Is Task of All Concerned Parties

As the industrial world globalizes, foreign companies are increasingly making use of factories in Cambodia. Upon reading your article “‘Systematic’ Labor Abuse at Garment Plants, Group Finds,” I have realized that the situation of workers in these factories is much more grave than I thought. 

With the support of organizations like ILO’s Better Factories and brand names such as Nike, Gap, and H&M, I assumed that this situation had improved enough to be somewhat passable. However, this article makes me think otherwise. Factory violations such as child labor, abuse of short-term contracts, illegal overtime hours, and union busting are prevalent. This is a problem that demands a response; the workers’ mistreatment cannot be ignored.

However, when addressing this issue, we must take into account that the situation is not just one party’s fault. John Ciorciari, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Public Policy School, pointed out in your article that “weak local governance, exploitative factories and retailers, and bargain-hunting consumers” all shared a part of the blame for workers’ situation. But perhaps the most important are the governments of countries where Cambodia-made garments are sold. I sincerely hope that these governments can contribute to solving this problem.

Natalie Song, Phnom Penh

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