Female Cambodian Garment Workers Beaten During Protests
At least three female garment industry workers were beaten during a strike in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Tuesday. The women were members of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Unions at Win Shintex, a Hong Kong-owned factory that produces clothes for J.C. Penney Co Inc. They were marching from the factory to the Ministry of Labor as part of a strike for higher wages and improved working conditions. Workers in the country’s $4 billion garment industry have been negotiating with management companies for the past year.
According to the Phnom Penh Post, 21-year-old Ry Mom (pictured above) suffered a broken nose after police hit her with batons when she tried to protect her friend:
“Police forces hit her … I got hurt, but I still stood firm, but then my friend told me I had blood. I was shocked and fainted.”
But police say that workers weren’t beaten and attributed Mom’s nosebleed to the weather:
““There was a scuffle between police and workers … but it did not wound any worker, and a worker had blood flowing from her nose because it was too hot.”
Eyewitnesses at the protest confirm that police used weapons and brutality against the workers, but Win Shintex and J.C. Penney have yet to release official statements regarding the issue.