BLOOD BRICKS - Untold Stories of Modern Slavery and Climate Change from Cambodia

Cambodia is in the midst of a construction boom. The building of high-rise office blocks and housing is pushing the capital city upwards but the country’s vertical drive into the skies and status as one of Asia’s fastest growing economies hides a darker side to Phnom Penh’s ascent.

Building projects demand bricks in large quantities and there is a profitable domestic brick production industry using multigenerational workforces of debt-bonded adults and children to supply them.

Blood bricks traces how urban ‘development’ is built on unsustainable levels of debt taken on by rural families struggling to farm in one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world.

In trying to repay loans taken on to cope with the destructive impacts of climate change, rural families are forced to leave their homes to live and work in brick kilns. Kiln owners repay their’ debts; in return, the families have to work in the kilns until the loan is repaid, if ever.

The project is part of of a research made in collaboration with The Royal Halloway, University of London and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and Department for International Development (ESRC-DFID) Development Frontiers Research Fund.

NB. All names are pseudonyms to protect participants from identification