Cambodia’s garment industry, which is responsible for over 80% of the country’s total exports, is notorious for its frequent cases of labor exploitation and worker abuse. Garment workers, of whom 90% are female, are forced to endure intimidation tactics, bribes, and short-term contracts -- all of which work to prevent unionization.
In the 1980's, after the Khmer Rouge lost control of much of Cambodia, displaced people flowed back into the capital city of Phnom Penh. Returnees created new settlements and villages when vacant housing was no longer available. One group of returnees consisted of traditional musicians looking for a central location to resume teaching their art. This group of musicians moved into the Bassac Theatre close to the Bassac and Mekong Rivers. Gradually more returnees gathered around this community and in 2005 the Dey Krahorm village consisted of an estimated 800 families.
Between 2008 and 2010, the Cambodian economy experienced extreme hardship. In 2008, the Cambodian economy began to suffer from high inflation, which caused food prices to soar to new, expensive levels. Workers from one of Cambodia’s major industries, the garment industry, were left especially distraught.