A Cambodian mom who makes bags for brands like Michael Kors and Kate Spade was thrown in jail for expressing concerns over the coronavirus, according to a new report.
Soy Sros, 30, posted on Facebook about being worried that she and others would be laid off amid the pandemic from Superl, the factory where she glued and sewed handbags in the Kampong Speu province. BuzzFeed News reported.
The widowed mother of two was hauled into her employer’s office and asked to sign an admission that she had made a mistake, allowing them to launch a disciplinary process against her if she did it again.
She refused – and responded when she was brought in for a 48-hour police interrogation.
“There were several policemen in the interrogation room, and they asked me if I wanted attention, or to be famous, whether I was trying to incite somebody,” Soy told BuzzFeed as part of its report on race relations in the garment industry. “They called me names, offended my dignity as a woman.”
She was tossed behind bars at the overcrowded jail in Kampong Speu on April 4 and stayed there for two months, battling a low-grade fever and lack of access to proper medical care.
International labor watchdog Clean Clothes Campaign took up Soy’s cause and penned a letter to Capri Holdings, the luxury fashion group that owns Michael Kors, and Taryn Bird, the social impact director at Kate Spade, calling for Soy’s release.
“Following her arrest, Mrs Soy Sros’ family lost their income as she was the sole breadwinner. She is a widow and a mother of two underage children, ”the letter reviewed by BuzzFeed said. “They are now taken care of by their grandmother. As per today, Mrs Soy Sros remains in jail. According to CUMW who visited Mrs. Soy Sros on May 8, 2020, her health is rapidly deteriorating and she is now receiving medical treatment. “
Neither Capri Holdings nor Kate Spade answered the letter. They also respond to questions from BuzzFeed about its report.
Soy was temporarily released from jail while her case was hashed out in court.
Superl dropped its complaint against her but was unclear if or when she arrived to be able to return to work.
“I am not afraid,” she said. “I will go back to work. You’re looking forward to it. “