Report shows effect of debt burden on garment workers

A report released by a group of labor rights organizations this week highlighted how the burden of debt on garment workers has grown in recent months in the wake of Covid-19, calling on microloan providers and the government to relieve the burden by suspending loan payments and interest accrual for at least three months.

In the report, titled “Worked to Debt”, released jointly by the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), human rights group Licadho, and labor rights group Central, workers said that the “vast majority” of the 158 microloan borrowers interviewed in the report had seen their quality of life become “much worse” since taking out a loan.

“The majority of microloan borrowers ate less food in order to repay their debts,” said the report, which was carried out between March and May said. “Any number of borrowers selling land, eating less, or taking children from school should be unacceptable to microfinance institutions and investors.”

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