Nine women aged 50 and older were released yesterday after being questioned at length over what police had feared was their possible involvement in human trafficking.
Not a single charge has been laid in relation to the anti-human trafficking police’s raid on the Association for People Protection in the capital’s Tuol Kork district on Monday, but police said yesterday that the agency had signed a contract promising to stop inviting young women to its office.
Keo Thea, director of the Phnom Penh municipal anti-human trafficking police, said the nine women, whom police had suspected to be brokers, had been released after signing a similar contract.
“They have promised not to do anything illegal and to stop luring girls from other provinces to apply to marry Korean men,” he said, adding that the nine women were related to some of the aspiring brides. “It is the women’s right to choose who they marry, but they must do it legally.”
Police raided APP’s office in Boeung Kak II commune on Monday as 49 women aged 18 to 25 gathered to have their “faces checked” by two South Korean prospective husbands.
Thea said there was nothing to indicate the agency, the nine women or the two men had done anything wrong, but said they may be investigated and questioned further.
“The future of the association depends on what’s going on, because we are still investigating,” he said.
Police also “educated” the 49 women about the risks of marrying someone they did not know or love, Thea said.
The government temporarily banned marriages between Cambodian women and Korean men in 2010 in an attempt to prevent human trafficking.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong told the Post on Monday that the ban was no longer in place, provided the groom is under 50 and a request is made to the couple’s embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.
APP and Heang Sopheak, deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh municipal court, who was involved in the raid, could not be reached for comment.
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