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Australian national and surrogacy agent Tammy Davis-Charles hides her face as she is escorted from the Phnom Penh court, where she was questioned yesterday.
Australian national and surrogacy agent Tammy Davis-Charles hides her face as she is escorted from the Phnom Penh court, where she was questioned yesterday. Hong Menea

Judge grills agent of surrogacy

Tammy Davis-Charles, the Australian national arrested in November for running a commercial surrogacy business in Cambodia, was questioned in court yesterday in a case that will determine whether surrogacy agents can get prison sentences despite the Kingdom’s lack of regulations for the industry.

Davis-Charles is being charged under Article 332 of the Penal Code, which prohibits acting as an intermediary between adoptive parents and a pregnant woman. She is also charged with possession of fraudulent documents and could face up to two years in prison.

Surrogate mothers recruited by Davis-Charles have also been summonsed to testify, but so far none have appeared, said Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Sous Vichearandy. Investigating judge Ros Piseth seized Davis-Charles’s phone and is searching its contacts for information about the women.

Contacted yesterday, one surrogate mother recruited by Davis-Charles said she had not received a summons.

Cambodia’s government is drafting a law to ban commercial surrogacy, but an official from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, one of the ministries charged with drafting the law, said it’s unclear when it will be ready.

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