Behind the Fashion

The fashion world decks itself in glitz and glamour, but remains silent on the innumerable stories of the people who work in the textile industry or related sectors. Here, six Cambodians tell their stories of difficult work conditions, struggles, and resistance.

Lim Thida

Portrait of Lim Thida: ”We mainly used to produce radio shows, but recently many of our programmes were banned.”

Lim Thida is programme director and show host at the Cambodian Center for Independent Media. https://ccimcambodia.org

Lim Thida reports daily on current social and political events in Cambodia. For years she produced shows for the radio. But in 2017, the government of Cambodia implemented massive restrictions to freedom of the press and forbid media that had been critical of the government to broadcast their content. Her NGO, which advocates for the support of independent media and campaigns for press freedom and freedom of opinion, was also affected. So Lim Thida and her team began to specialize in internet live-streams. They reach up to 2000 viewers per broadcast, depending on the topic. Viewers are particularly interested in positions that the Cambodian government takes in relation to European demands that human rights be respected.

“Some radio stations were stripped of their licenses, while others, which were licensed to broadcast on an hourly basis, had their contracts cancelled by radio station operators.”

Trade policy between Cambodia and the EU:

Until mid-2020, Cambodia enjoyed tariff preferences with the European Union as part of the “Everything But Arms” initiative. The trade deal, which was agreed upon in 2001, provides the world’s least-developed countries with duty-free access to the European market for all goods with the exception of armaments. Against the background of the Cambodian government’s serious and systematic human rights violations, these trade preferences have since been revoked. Exports of garments and shoes have also been affected. Thousands of textile workers now fear joblessness, because the trade sanctions could lead to fashion businesses with ties to Cambodia moving their production elsewhere in future. Moreover, there are fears that the additional tariff costs will be passed on to workers, meaning a reduction in their income.


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