BANGKOK — It should have been an extraordinary scene: more than 100 factory hands fainting in unison as if possessed by spirits.

But in Cambodian garment factories, which play a major role in supplying American malls, mass fainting is no longer a freak phenomenon. It’s disturbingly common. The enigmatic problem is persistent despite waves of government studies, activist campaigns and vows to investigate factory conditions by global fashion empires such as H&M.

The latest mass fainting episode took place this month in a factory that, according to Reuters, supplies sportswear giants Puma and Adidas. Like other fainting outbreaks in Cambodia, it began with one worker falling ill and ended with more than 100 sprawled on the factory floor.

The companies told the news agency they were cooperating with authorities and closely monitoring the situation, and that the victims had received medical treatment.

This is 2014’s first major fainting incident. It probably won’t be the last. Government statistic suggest that, since 2011, between 1,500 and 2,000 Cambodian factory workers have fainted each year — often in groups of 100 or more. The laborers almost always recover after a short hospital stay.

The Cambodians who stitch your clothing keep fainting in droves

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Originally from GLOBALPOST

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