Mech Sareoun had not been paid in months and was relying on small loans from his employer to support his family. The COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected the construction sector and its nearly 150,000 workers. But, the construction worker, who lives in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, was heading for another economic shock last month.
Nika* had hoped that the child she was carrying for a Chinese couple would let her budding family build a home. Her husband, a construction worker, and her 5-year-old daughter never had very much, and the $8,000 potential payout seemed like a fortune.