Phal Sokhun Sambath has not worked since mid-March, when the garment factory where she labored for $1 an hour was shuttered to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Last December, she had put up the title to her parents’ house to borrow $5,000 from a bank for a family health emergency. Then came the pandemic, which wiped out her and her partner’s incomes and forced them to take out loans from their landlord, another bank, a pawnshop and a neighbor who charges 20% monthly interest.
“Every time we take out a new loan, it’s instantly more pressure,” the 36-year-old Sambath said. “It hangs over us every day.”