As global brands bounce back from COVID-19, Cambodian garment workers face spiralling debt

A majority of surveyed workers said they had taken out a loan due to lower wages since the pandemic. Activists are calling on brands such as Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Puma, Gap and Levi to act.

The women making clothes and shoes for some of the world’s biggest brands have seen their wages drop and are spiralling into debt, even as fashion companies see revenues rise, according to a new report.

The report, Stitched Under Strain, surveyed more than 300 garment workers at Cambodian factories supplying products for global brands including Nike, Adidas, Puma, New Balance and Levi Strauss.

“All that is left for me now is debt and illness,” a worker from Meng Da Footwear factory, which supplies Adidas, said in the report.

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