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Alleged human trafficker stands trial in capital

An alleged human trafficker’s four victims testified in Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, explaining how they went to Malaysia to work as maids only to be arrested and detained for visa violations.

The alleged broker, Tran Sok Channy, 27, was charged with “unlawful recruitment for exploitation” in May 2015.

Im Channa, 25, and her sister Im Khloeut, 24, both from Battambang, said that they got in touch with Sok Channy’s employer, a company called HRD, after they heard its advertisement on the radio.

HRD owner Heng Samnang took them to a guesthouse in Phnom Penh to await departure while Sok Channy prepared the women’s meals and took them to register for passports.

Five days later, the women went to Poipet, met with five other prospective maids and travelled to Malaysia through Thailand, accompanied by two HRD employees, a Malaysian woman and a Chinese man.

When they arrived, Malaysian police arrested them because their passports only had tourist visas. The sisters eventually made it back to Cambodia with some cash from their mother.

Sok Channy was arrested on May 22, while company owner Heng Samnang escaped Cambodian police. Sok Channy’s defence lawyer urged the court to release her and try to catch “the real perpetrator”.

The plaintiffs are seeking between $3,000 and $5,000 in compensation. The verdict is due on March 24.

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