Killer Beers?
Email Us

Facts taken from social scientists, research reports, university theses, annual government surveys, medical practitioners and press reports.

In Memoriam
The women who have died at work serving beer were real people and should be remembered.

Find out if your favorite beer is being sold by 'beergirls' in Cambodia.

Ways to help
Easy ways to contribute to change. Includes press releases.

Recent and previous developments are detailed in our archives


Some of the world's largest beer companies exploit Cambodian women to sell their products, and may deny these women basic labour and human rights, (refusing to recognise them as employees). When AIDS, alcohol and other work place dangers prove fatal, these 'throwaway beer girls' are replaced with young recruits. monitors the sales practices and health, safety and welfare policies of major globalized beer companies doing business in Cambodia. For additional facts, background information and action strategies, why not consult our sister site Fair Trade Beer or visit, a site providing a voice to the women at risk in Cambodia.

Announcing 2015 Cambodia Internships.

Join SiRCHESI staff and Prof. Ian Lubek in Siem Reap for 17-day supervised intensive research and health promotion experience. Registration is first come, first serve with a US$250 non-refundable deposit. 3 places remain for February and 4 for August 2015.
APPLY for an internship NOW!
Download the 2015-brochure(pdf-file,5.5MB)

SOMO, Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations,  is an independent, non-profit research and network organisation working on social, ecological and economic issues related to sustainable development. In August 2012 they released  a report  under the title Promoting Decency? Major beer companies earn money on the backs of Cambodian beer promoters.  The report claims how  beer promotion workers selling Heineken, Carlsberg, Bavaria and other beer in Cambodian bars and restaurants earn too little to make a decent living. (read the report).
When confronted with these findings by the Phnom Penh Post, Danish brewer Carlsberg has now
publicly vowed to improve working conditions of their promotional staff. (read article)

Beer Sellers Have Taken Action in Cambodia
Local newspaper stories covered the beer-sellers strike in Cambodia: from protest outside Cambrew Headquarters in Phnom Penh to campaigns to Carlsberg and the Deputy Governor intervention with a commitment to paying overtime. Read press coverage and see photos of the protest. On 5 Aug the Beer Sellers Union CSFWF contacted beer sellers about the temporary ending of the strike. (read letter in rtf-format).

Read Michelle Tolson's online analysis and followup to the beer strike; a khmer-version from the Phnom Penh Post available for download here (pdf).

AB-INBEV, CARLSBERG,  HEINEKEN AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL BREWERS  ARE YET AGAIN IN 2008-9 BEHAVING BADLY TO WOMEN BEER SELLERS IN CAMBODIA”, written by Ian Lubek with the help of SiRCHESI NGO and many international colleagues - read the full report here. (PDF-file; 0,5Mb) & as summarised pressrelease (PDF, 0,25 Mb)

Heineken releases CAS Audit (Jan. 2009). 

Beer Selling Industry Cambodia (BSIC), of which Heineken, Carlsberg, Guinness, Tiger Beer, etc.,are members, hired  Cambodian research organization CAS to evaluate progress made since Jan. 2008 (unpublished, CAS "Baseline" AUDIT), and to document adherence to 7 principles in their Code of Conduct (Oct. 2006). The CAS study focusses on those  7 items, without addressing some of the additional concerns raised by SiRCHESI, SOMO (2007, 2009) and shareholders representatives from VBDO, addressed at Heineken AGMs since 2007. (e.g., Living wages, free (HAART) anti-retrovirals for HIV+ employees). Within the 7 questions covered, there is direct confirmation of some SiRCHESI results-- e.g., basic Heineken salary still averages $69.00 when SiRCHESI data shows women need $141 to feed their families. There is some praise in the CAS (and SiRCHESI) reports for areas of progress, such as uniforms. But the CAS also admonishes the beer companies to do more about nightly drinking by 73% of beer sellers who still, in 2009, reported that they sit and drink with customers, against BSIC's Code of Conduct  (SiRCHESI data showed more than 90%). As with SiRCHESI's recently released reports (Press release 2009, and Backup information 2009), CAS highlighted many problems of employees' contracts -- transparency, compliance with Cambodian Labour Code,  and confusion about benefits, rights and the pay structures and amounts due to them. Some data reported in the CAS study are in sharp contradiction with independent SiRCHESI findings, and require further discussion and methodological analyses  For example, a conservatively worded question about workplace drinking produces a CAS finding of 0.71 litres being drunk on the last shift  by 105 BSIC saleswomen, or 3 glasses of beer or standard drinks. This amount in itself requires comment: it is 3 times the amount suggested by the US website (0.25 litres=1 glass) for American women--30% greater in height, weight and BMI than Khmer women--; at the new Heineken Cambodia site, Cambodian women are told that 1-2 drinks are advised as a limit (0.25- 0.50 litres), less than the BSIC sellers are currently drinking-- in fact the SiRCHESI data for 2008 suggested that mean alcohol drunk per shift by BSIC brands was 1.48 litres nightly or 6 standard drinks, N=103).

SOMO (NL)'s research overview to Heineken shareholders (2009)

Find out about the work SiRCHESI is doing - read the 2011 newletter

Dear colleagues, friends and supporters of “SiRCHESI”,

         We thank all the supporters of our research-guided health promotion activities in Cambodia. These services are delivered daily in Siem Reap by “SiRCHESI”, the Siem Reap Citizens for Health, Educational and Social Issues, which is a non-profit  Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).  We attach the illustrated SiRCHESI newsletter for January, 2011, indicating some of the accomplishments of 2010.
        What we do:   In 2000, Siem Reap had among the highest prevalence rates for HIV/AIDS in all  South-East Asia; since then, SiRCHESI has worked to : i) reduce significantly the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among various risk groups; ii) monitor the community's health-related social and sexual behaviours; iii) promote workplace health and safety for women in the entertainment industry; iv) create  prevention programs for alcohol abuse; v) supply health education through peer educators in rural outlying communities; vi) prevent child sexual exploitation and trafficking; and, vii) create and co-sponsor, with the hotel industry, new safe and secure career pathways for women. For more details, please visit SiRCHESI’s four main websites, where recent conference presentations, and research and press reports are posted:,,, or .

 How much it costs: It will cost an estimated $30,000 to run all our current programs in Cambodia during 2011 and close our balance sheet for 2010. There are no administrative overhead costs and all donated funds go directly to supporting our Cambodian local health staff and outreach workers, interviewers, and hotel apprentices.  All collaborating international researchers, practitioners, students and interns --over 90 so far-- offer  their services pro bono. But with no major grant support obtained thus far for 2011, we rely heavily on the proceeds from the occasional sales of fair trade bracelets and scarves, and continued academic, personal and corporate donations (with a charitable tax-receipt for Canada and the USA).
         How you can help: At this time of year, many of us sit down to make our donations to our favorite charities. I do hope that you can include SiRCHESI.  Working in a developing country such as Cambodia gives a new perspective on simple gift-giving, because a small (or large) gift gets “magnified” and can actually do a great deal on the ground.  
I.     $25 provides 5 workplace health and safety interventions (with breathalyzer testing) for women workers in dangerous situations    
II.      $50 permits  10 persons at risk to attend a SiRCHESI health workshop on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, alcohol overuse, and workers'  rights    
III.     $100 provides for one of our 21 peer-educator outreach workers to reach, in 4 months, 140 rural women and men with health promotion information about reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, etc.    
IV.     $140 pays the monthly salary of 1 of our 5 SiRCHESI staff members    
V.     $200 provides a complete workshop for 70 young souvenir vendors at Angkor Wat against risks of sexual predators, HIV/AIDS and child-trafficking;    
VI.     $250 pays for 250 social-behavioural monitoring interviews with high-risk persons visiting the local HIV/AIDS testing health center    
VII.     $2100 pays all salaries and expenses for SiRCHESI for one month's health promotion activities    

Please donate what you can; however, large or small an amount it will make a difference.

Many Thanks

Ian Lubek  International Advisor, Siem Reap Citizens for Health, Educational and Social Issues (SiRCHESI; Cambodian NGO #704).
Professor, Psychology Department, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, CANADA; Visiting Professorial Fellow, School of Public Health and Community Medicine,  University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, 2052, AUSTRALIA;

Staffordshire University
Read about the scientific involvement of Staffordshire University in Improving the health and life choices of women beer sellers in Cambodia.

Read all about SiRCHESI's recent accomplishments. Download the 2013 Newsletter here (pdf-file,600kB)

Aug 2012
Danish brewer Carlsberg has vowed to improve working conditions for Cambodian beer promoters.
Read article in the Phnom Penh Post (pdf, 224Kb)

Statistics show job risks for beer promoters , an article in the Phnom Penh Post reveals.

SOMO releases independent report on beer-sellers. Read the report

Aug 08 Heineken, Olympics and beer sellers in Cambodia- Dutch/Flemish blogs
You can read the blogs at and

1 July 08 Three articles by SØREN KRAGBALLE appear in the Danish press
i) NGO: Bryggerier betaler sulteløn til deres ølpiger (pdf 12kb); ii)Carlsbergs ølpiger bliver fortsat groft chikaneret (pdf 15kb); iii) Carlsbergchef: Ikke godt nok (pdf 14kb)

April 08 International brewers still behaving badly in Cambodia.
Latest research findings suggest Heineken and other brands, despite statements to media and shareholders, have not made significant progress in 2007 to reduce high risks to their women beer-sellers in Cambodia.  Demands for
paying a "living wage", provide free HAART for HIV+ beersellers, improve health education before employment, provide contracts transparently, and end all workplace drinking (for starters) remain unchanged.
Please read the recent pressrelease (RTF- 28k)

The struggle to have the multinational breweries recognise their female staff on the workfloor as regular employees has been going on since 2001 - read about previous developments in our archives.