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.

Va Na

Portrait of Va Na:“I’d like to have a bus, in order to be able to offer more safety and better conditions.”

Va Na is an independent truck driver and a spokesperson at a drivers’ union.

His income depends on the number of factory workers he can transport. Va Na has been driving factory workers to work since 2017. Around 40 to 50 people fit into the tray of his truck—an arrangement not without its dangers. But he needs to transport that many people in order to secure his livelihood. The workers pay him a monthly fee of US$6 to $7. With 50 passengers he can earn around US$250 a month. If the textile factories have fewer orders or workers are sick, his income may drop as a result.

“The transportation fee is simply too low.”

Daily dangers on the roads:

According to figures from the World Health Organization, traffic accidents were the most common cause of death in Cambodia in 2015, due to bad driving conditions among other factors. Time pressures , for example, mean that many drivers fail to observe the road rules or the speed limit.


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