The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced a woman to seven years in prison for trafficking Cambodian women to China to sell them for marriage, while two more were sentenced in absentia.
Neth Sokly, 36, was convicted and sentenced at the court, which dropped charges against two others who stood trial, including her husband.
Sreang Dara, 45, and Ros Soeng, 63, both of whom are on the run, were sentenced to seven and two years, respectively. All three convicted were ordered to compensate the case’s two plaintiffs.
“They brought many Cambodian girls from poor families in Cambodian provinces to marry Chinese men in Shanghai,” said Colonel Lao Lin, chief of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection unit at the Ministry of Interior.
“[The victims] were shown pictures telling them they would work as garment workers there instead.”
Sokly and her Chinese husband, Tao Yue Hong, 35, were arrested based on lawsuits from four women on July 5, 2013, at Phnom Penh International Airport as they returned from China. Tao’s charges were dropped yesterday.
One 23-year-old victim who lives in Kampong Cham province, said she and two girls left for Shanghai on May 25, 2013, for garment sector jobs.
“When we arrived at Shanghai Airport, a Khmer woman named Neth Sokly and her Chinese husband came to receive us. After welcoming and meeting us, they brought us into their car and sent us to stay at another Chinese human trafficker’s house in Shanghai,” she said.
“Later, they held our passports and made us marry old Chinese men in Shanghai. They sold us for between $10,000 and $15,000 each.”
Another victim, 20, said Sokly and her husband sold her to an old Chinese farmer living on the outskirts of Shanghai, saying she slept with the man every day and night until she was rescued by the Cambodian Embassy and returned to Cambodia in July 2013.
Sokly said yesterday the court’s decision was unjust.
“I cannot accept this verdict. I will appeal to the upper court,” she said.