Non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recently revealed a report called “Work faster or get out”, which describes common labor right abuses in Cambodia’s garment factories and the failure of government labor inspectors to protect workers’ rights. Issues documented in the report include discrimination against pregnant workers, forced overtime and retaliation for refusing overtime, and unfair treatment of union larger factories with export licenses. Highlighted figures on the report disclose, for instance, that 94% of the factories monitored by Better Factories Cambodia between May 2013 and April 2014 violated exceptional overtime regulations.

HRW calls out H&M, Marks and Spencer, Gap and Joe Fresh for apparently doing business in these facilities with subpar labor standards. At the same time, international brands are asked to publicly disclose all authorized production units on a regular (such as semi-annual) basis, indicate the level of production (for example, whether the unit is a small, medium, or large supplier), and disclose when the unit was most recently inspected by independent monitors.

The first brand to reply to HRW has been H&M, via press release. The Swedish retail chain comments: “We have asked for information about the factories mentioned in the report to be able to follow-up, but Human Rights Watch has not been willing to share that information.” The retailer has been publishing its supplier lists since 2013, and last year it expanded that list further to include subcontracted factories that are approved to perform designated outsourced work.

This report is based on interviews with more than 340 people, including 270 garment workers from 73 factories in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, and nearby provinces, as well as union leaders, government officials, labor rights advocates, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), and international apparel brand representatives.