Interviews took place in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Speu,
Kampong Cham, and Prey Veng provinces.
Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 342 people,
- A total of 270 garment workers
including 40 factory-level union representatives from 71 garment factories
and 2 footwear factories. We conducted 25 of those interviews one-on-one
with the workers; the rest stemmed from 37 group interviews. About 80
percent of the workers we interviewed were women; 11 workers were children
below age 18.
- Two independent confederation
representatives, 10 independent union federation leaders, 11 labor rights activists,
and 2 representatives from the Arbitration Council.
- Two mothers of children working
in a garment factory.
- Two factory infirmary workers
and 2 private health providers.
- Twenty-five home-based workers
who did seasonal work for garment factories.
- Five factory representatives,
including 2 office-bearers of the Garment Manufacturers Association of
- Individual and group interviews
with 9 Cambodian government officials from the Labor Ministry; and
interviews with 2 former government labor inspectors.
We interviewed some workers, union representatives, and
Labor Ministry officials multiple times.
To supplement formal interviews, Human Rights Watch had
informal conversations with more than 25 others with relevant knowledge,
including labor rights experts and staff from local and international NGOs, the
ILO, donor countries, and the UN.
We identified workers to interview with the assistance of
local NGOs and independent union federations, as well as via chain referrals
from workers themselves.
Worker interviews took place after their factory workday,
during the lunch hour, or on Sundays, their day off. The interviews were
conducted in local NGO offices, garment workers’ homes, or in restaurants
or shacks around the factory that workers identified as safe. No interviews
were conducted in the presence of workers’ employers, such as factory
managers or other administrative staff.
All participants were informed of the purpose of the
interview, its voluntary nature, and the ways the information would be used.
Each orally consented to be interviewed. Interviews lasted between thirty
minutes and two hours and were mostly conducted in Khmer with translation into
English. We primarily used female interpreters. Interviewees did not receive
any material compensation. Some workers were reimbursed the cost of transport
to and from the interview.
The names of all workers
interviewed for this report have been withheld or substituted with pseudonyms
in the interest of the security of the individuals concerned. All incidents
cited in the report occurred during or after 2013, unless expressly stated
Factory names have been withheld to minimize the risk to the
workers we interviewed. We assigned numbers 1 to 73 to each of the factories
where we interviewed one or more workers. Letters A to Q have been used to
label another 17 factories (both direct suppliers and subcontractors) that
workers named in their accounts, but from which we have no worker
Between March and September 2014, Human Rights Watch sent
two letters each to six international clothing and footwear brands that source
from Cambodia for additional information about their approaches to labor rights
in the supply chain, to present preliminary findings of our research, and to
request meetings with company officials, as described below:
Group (Adidas) provided detailed written responses to both letters, and met
with Human Rights Watch in Bangkok in September 2014.
Armani Group (Armani) did not respond to any letters or several follow-up
Inc. (Gap) responded in writing to both letters and a Gap representative had a
phone discussion with Human Rights Watch in October 2014.
Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) provided a detailed written response to our
first letter, responded in writing to the second letter, and met with Human
Rights Watch in Bangkok in September 2014.
Cos. Ltd. (which owns Joe Fresh) did not respond to our first letter or to
several follow-up letters. After we sent the second letter, they responded in
writing to both letters.
Marks and Spencer did not respond to our first letter or
to several follow-up letters. After we sent the second letter, they responded
in writing to both letters. They declined our invitation for a discussion and
offered to respond in writing to any additional questions but did not respond
to a follow-up email as of February 11, 2015.
This report is not a thorough investigation of any one
brand’s entire supply chain. Not all brands named in this report were
sourcing from each of the 73 factories. Human Rights Watch does not have
complete brand information for every factory, which can frequently change.
Of the 73 factories:
on information publicly disclosed by H&M in 2013 and 2014, 11 factories
were authorized manufacturers for H&M.
on information publicly disclosed by Adidas and information that Adidas gave
Human Rights Watch about its past suppliers, seven factories were authorized
and Spencer, Gap, Armani, and Joe Fresh have neither publicly disclosed the
names of factories they source from nor furnished the information when we
requested it. Based on information gathered by Human Rights Watch, thirteen factories
appeared to produce regularly for Marks and Spencer, seven factories appeared
to produce regularly for Joe Fresh, five factories produced for Gap, and one
factory produced regularly for Armani.
In order to reflect the perspectives of factories in this
report, we emailed questionnaires to 58 factories using contact information
listed on the GMAC member database. These factories were chosen at random and
included direct suppliers and subcontractors. Two factories responded—one
in writing and the second through a meeting.
In November 2014, Human Rights Watch wrote to the Ministry
of Labor and the Ministry of Commerce, outlining our findings and seeking a
written response. By publication we received a response only from the
Labor Ministry, which is reflected in the report.
Human Rights Watch correspondence and replies by brands and
government ministries can be found at http://www.hrw.org.
Human Rights Watch also gathered information about which
brands were produced in factories wherever this information was relevant and
available from independent federations—the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel
Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), the National Independent Federation of
Textile Unions in Cambodia (NIFTUC), the Collective Union of Movement of
Workers (CUMW), the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), and a local
nongovernmental organization—the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC).
We were also able to access the Worker Information Center labels database from
2012 and 2013.