“I can only have two days off per month. I have to drink a lot, and I often get sexually harassed and abused by customers. My salary will be cut off if I apply for a day leave. Furthermore, my boss does not pay any attention to workers’ problems. When we raise issues in meetings, the boss just says, ‘this is the nature of working in karaoke, and if you do not want to drink or be sexually assaulted just do not work in this sector’,” Srey said.
Through ActionAid’s women-led campaign for Safe Cities, Srey has learned more about labour laws, violence in the workplace and the impact of sexual harassment.
She participated in meetings with relevant authorities to raise her concerns, and some of the dangers she faces in the workplace, including a dark entrance, frequent theft and sanitation issues.
“After the meeting with the authorities, there was an improvement with light bulbs at the entrance of the house, and fewer gangsters were loitering nearby. However, we still faces problems like the garbage truck only coming to collect garbage once per week and the problems at work are still a big challenge,” Srey shared.
Despite still having challenging issues to contend with, Srey says her experience with the Safe Cities campaign has given her a better understanding of women’s rights and the confidence to confront customers when she encounters sexual harassment or when she is being pressured to drink.
“Even though there is a challenge in organising women’s groups, I still keep up my work by organising more women to participate,” Srey said, defiantly. “We learn about our rights and avoid rights violations and exploitation from employers.”