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Arrests after baby ‘sold’

Two women stand next to authorities to have their photo taken in Phnom Penh on Sunday after they were detained by anti-trafficking police.
Two women stand next to authorities to have their photo taken in Phnom Penh on Sunday after they were detained by anti-trafficking police. ATU

Arrests after baby ‘sold’

Anti-trafficking police in Phnom Penh on Sunday arrested two women in relation to the sale of an 11-month-old infant to a woman incapable of bearing her own children.

Mother To Pi Ray, 28, allegedly worked with Kong Chandy, 24, to sell her child for $800 because she claimed that after divorcing her husband she was not in a suitable position to raise the baby.

Police arrested the pair at a house in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district.

Keo Thea, the chief of the capital’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit, said yesterday the police made the arrests after Chan Ta, the father of the child, issued a complaint on August 18.

“We investigated and found that she did not divorce the husband, and that the husband has a suitable business to support the family and raise the baby,” he said.

“But the mother needed money for drink, and sold her baby for $800.”

He added that the suspect had previously bore three other children, but sent them to be raised by relatives.

Additionally, Thea said that the buyer would not be facing charges, as she was duped into the deal.

“The buyer is a good person who did not have children.

The father is also a good person, as he didn’t know [what his wife was planning],” he said.

“The [suspect] is not a good person. She is always drunk.”

The two were charged under Article 15 on the Law on Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. If they’re found guilty, the women face up to 20 years in prison.

Chhan Sokunthea, the chief of the women’s and children’s division of local rights group Adhoc, confirmed that the alleged crime constituted human trafficking.

“The mother did not care for and love the baby,” she said.

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