BANGKOK — In Cambodia, poverty is endemic and its people, largely unskilled and deprived of quality education, will work for dirt-cheap wages.
In other words, it's an ideal location for outsourced garment factories.
Just ask Levi Strauss, H&M or The Gap.
Last year, a strange phenomenon -- wave after wave of mass faintings in garment factories -- briefly attracted the media's gaze towards the lives of Cambodians who stitch clothing for Western consumers. This trend was largely presented as a mystery. Time Magazine surmised that "mass hysteria" could be to blame. An executive blamed it on a "strange psychological phenomenon."
But less attention has been paid to recent efforts to understand the fainting spells. According to varied groups' research, it's largely owed to more obvious causes: underfed workers toiling in stifling hot factories.