IN the dusty, sweating caldron of humanity that clings to the international border
at Poipet in Cambodia's wild west, a seller struggles with a load of produce from
Thailand that will find its way to local markets.
It's a scenario that is played out every day from 6.30 am when the gates open, to
8 pm when they close.
Hundreds of Cambodians buy one-day permits to work in Thailand and they stream across,
followed by human work-horses pulling their rickety wooden carts, hoping to get paid
enough in cartage fees to put food on the table that night.
Lay Liet, 42, is a typical transporter. He pays 1000 riel for his permit and then
200 to 300 baht (20,000 to 30,000 riel) customs duty on the goods he brings across.
He pays officials at five different locations on the crossing.
"I came a year ago from Prey Veng where there were no jobs. But it's not good
here; it's a hard life and I have five kids to feed."