They have no front door. Privacy is a sheet of cloth drawn across an opening. A gas burner on the ground. A saucepan with leftover porridge.
“It’s been three months. Since I started”, Check Srey-Toy tells Arbetet Global. “It’s an easy job. All I need to do is lie there and the machine pumps it out”.
As the Cambodian capital city falls into darkness, some glimpses of light shine through the makeshift wall of plastic and wood out to the alley-ways among the ramshackle sheds of Stoeng Mean Chey, one of Phnom Penh’s poorest slums. Dark figures move along, shuffling past, following the stench filled pathways covered with ripped plastic bags and other litter.
This used to be a garbage dump. Then bulldozers covered the garbage and poisonous soil, creating a housing market for ramshackle sheds at ten dollars per month. For an extra 15 dollars, electricity is provided.
Check Srey-Toy and her husband used to make their daily income by picking plastics, aluminium cans and paper from the city streets. They assorted their rewards and sold it to a recycling centre. A few months ago a new opportunity arose as two women approached them.
Check Srey-Toy was selling her breast milk during three months. She was paid 5 dollar a day. Photo: Daniel Quinan