The Cambodian Outsource

The state of Cambodia's factory labor

Working Conditions

Living Conditions

Big image
This man got injured as a result of anti-riot forces involving themselves in a workers protest in Cambodia.


Other Images





Cambodia is one of the poorest asian countries today but that is rapidly changing, in the past few years the poverty has been decreasing because of a migration of manufacturing orders to countries like Cambodia. In China there a many factors contributing to the current decrease in manufacturing business such as “Blue-collar wages have surged, quadrupling in the last decade” as well as a “labor force…shrinking because of the “one child” policy and an aging population.” This has lead to a sharp decrease in the orders to Chinese manufacturers and has lead to businesses transferring their manufacturing to countries where its cheeper. This bodes both well and not so well for workers in Cambodia. On one hand this increase in demand for Cambodian based manufacturing provides a source of income in a desperately poor country. This demand has created investing potential that “rose 70 percent last year” which “is starting to raise millions of people out of destitution” and the trend seems likely to continue possible providing better lives for those in extreme poverty. On the other had it subjects people to difficult and often extremely draining work which includes work hours that are far too long for any work. As for the future of the industrial space in Cambodia it can be predicted that it will follow a similar model the that of China and Britten were a increase in labor in demand will lead (and is leading) to a greater wealth in the country as a whole. However terrible conditions will cause upset and unrest in workers which will lead to the creation of reforms and minimum wages to protect the workers in these factories. This is only if the demand for Cambodian manufactured goods remains as high as it has been trending lately.

Adjectives Explaned

This paragraph will describe adjectives chosen to describe the current industrial revolution happening in Cambodia. The first adjective used to describe it was massive. In the pictures of the factory workers in Cambodia it is obvious how compact the workers stations are and how close together they are to each other but even with this compact style there are still warehouse full of workers. The word massive helps put words to the undeniable scale of this industry boom in Cambodia. The second word used to describe this set of pictures was Hazardous. These words are used to describe in particular the pictures showing the collapsed factory building and the “scavengers” in the trash piles that are in Cambodia. These pictures attempt to paint a clear description of the obvious unsatisfactory living conditions of these workers. The pictures of the trash mounds and the people living near and on it are what really show a clearly hazardous environment. The next word used to describe these pictures was exhaustive. A strange trend started occurring in many Cambodian labor factories where “mass faintings [struck]” causing “the production line [to] shut down.” temporarily and left hundreds of workers hospitalized. This epidemic has been rumored (and with good reason) to be supernatural occurrences of angry gods. The faintings are more likely a product of extreme exhaustion on the part of the work force which works long hours under hard labor conditions similar to those in china and other industrializing countries. Anther word used to describe the Cambodian industrial movement was difficult. These pictures help convoy that difficultly but it doesn't show it fully. Many workers go to work in the factories to “save” themselves from even worse living conditions that they would be met with outside. So its difficult for the workers to choose between terrible working conditions or even worse living conditions without the labor. The lsat word used was advancing. Cambodian manufacturing business has taken a sharp increase over countries like china which has resulted in a increase in the countries wealth. Without the factories many of the workers would have no income so the small income they have is welcome. Its important to remember that this although difficult and hazardous for the people in these factories, its also the best chance they have to receive income in a terribly poor country.

Pictures Explained

The first picture to look at is the picture where a fainted women is tended to by a co-worker. This picture was included to illustrate the issue of the mass faintings that have been happening at Cambodian factories. This is really a picture that shows the exhaustion of the workers who have been fainting in large numbers with no explanation other than its possible ties to the overworked workers giving out under the outrageous conditions of these factories and work hours. The second picture to look at is the man who was part of an garment worker protest being assaulted by an anti-riot officer. This picture is included to show the Cambodian governments treatment of the workers in these factories. The people in Cambodia clearly do not care for the well being and stable living of their workers. This picture expresses how laborers are view and treated in industrial Cambodia. The third picture to look at is the picture of the young child with her family on one of the trash heaps. This child's family does the job of a scavenger and scours the massive piles for valuable items and useable living amenities. This picture was included to illustrate the most extreme edge of poverty in Cambodia were children will fight “to reclaim…discarded food.” This is how some families in Cambodia make their livings by using the scraps discarded by other people. This picture also shows some of the fitly conditions people in Cambodia have to live in or near. I pick these images because they were the ones that struck me the most when looking for pictures for these projects and i hope they strike you to a certain degree as well.


"Cambodian gov't to resume industrial surveys." Xinhua News Agency 12 Dec. 2008. Global Issues In Context. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

Bradsher, Keith. "Wary of China, Companies Head to Cambodia." The New York Times 9 Apr. 2013, New York ed.: B1. Print.

A fact panflet about labor in cambodian factories. Clean Clothes Campaign. N.p., 2013. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

Wallace, Julia. "Workers of the World, Faint!" The New York Times 17 Jan. 2014, New York ed.: SR4. Print.

"Saving Children from Cambodia's Trash Heap." CNN. Cable News Network, 6 June 2008. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <>.

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