Article: Exhaustion causes 73 to faint at H&M factory in Cambodia

On August 30, 2017, 73 Cambodian women fainted at the H&M supplier factory, Berry Apparel. Most were subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment. This event sheds light on the ongoing issue of working conditions in garment factories in Cambodia and across the region. The factories are known for long working hours, uncomfortably high temperatures and minimal breaks. The combination of these factors can have a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of the employees. In a 2016 report by Asia Floor Wage Alliance, serious health concerns were raised about the same H&M Supplier's factory.Although the Cambodia-based, sustainability manager for H&M declined to comment, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia insisted that they will investigate the mass fainting at Berry Apparel, as mandated by the GMAC committee.In Cambodia there are currently over 500 garment factories employing more than 500,000 female workers. This makes the garment industry the largest employer of women in Cambodia. The majority of the garment factories are located in and around Phnom Penh, which makes them less of a factor in Free To Shine's mission in Siem Reap Province. However, we still must address for the demand and pressure put on girls and women to migrate in order to work at these factories. Through our community workshops and individual visits with girls and their families, we work to educate women about their labor rights and the industries which may place them at a higher risk of labor trafficking or exploitation.To counteract the pressure to migrate and work at these factories, Free To Shine partners with vocational training programs and refers girls who leave school or struggle to find local employment. Several vocational programs offer training for girls who wish to enter the garment industry, teaching them sewing skills while also encouraging entrepreneurship and assisting with small business start ups & job placements at fair-paying, safe workplaces.