According to an article in a local paper, the BBC is about
to air a program concerning child labor at a Phnom Penh garment factory having
contracts with Nike and Gap.
It would appear that at least one
14-year-old girl, maybe up to five girls, will lose their jobs because they lied
about their age. Furthermore, according to a recent report in a local paper, it
appears that Nike has canceled its contract with June Textiles because of its
employment of child labour, thus probably increasing unemployment here even
When one hears this sort of thing it makes a normal person wonder
if the BBC has any sense of responsibility at all. Does [the BBC] producer have
the slightest idea of what will happen to the underage girls who were, till
[BBC] interfered, earning an honest, albeit very meager living? Well, I can
enlighten [BBC's] investigative team with the following information:
girls whom they have succeeded in "saving", barring a miracle will become one of
two things, either prostitutes or beggars, probably both, and this unfortunate
fact doesn't take into account the loss of financial help these kids probably
gave to their families from their factory earnings.
I would like to know
what the total cost of production of the [BBC] documentary was? If you then
divide that sum in US dollars by 30 you will get the number of months of English
lessons the BBC could have provided to the girls concerned (and releasing [BBC]
reporters for more important jobs elsewhere), then, by the time these girls were
16 they would have had a chance of finding better jobs having worked a couple of
years in a factory.
As it is [the BBC has] condemned them to the
brothels here. However, at the risk of sounding cynical, perhaps that is what
[the BBC] team wanted so they could spend their evenings and inflated expense
accounts with a greater variety of girls after their hard grind taking photos in
garment factories during the day?
- Tony Carleton, Phnom Penh