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'Beer Girls' Still Lacking Rights, Sense of Worth

A group of rights organizations and nine ministries renewed calls Wednesday for female beverage promoters, better known as "beer girls," to receive more respect and protection.

The young women, who work in an industry that often leads to sexual harassment, prostitution or assault, should be protected, the groups said, following a meeting Wednesday led by the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

The meeting was meant to push momentum to help the workers and boost their sense of self-worth, Minister of Women Affairs Ung Kunthaphavy said.

"The problem stems from poverty, and the employers try to increase their benefits, and there is no development," she said.

Nearly all of Cambodia's beer companies employ beer girls, who wear dresses and sashes to promote their beverages, bringing them into potentially lecherous contact with drunken patrons.