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Woman sent to China sold ‘as sex slave’

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard the brutal testimony of a 19-year-old Cambodian woman who was allegedly trafficked to China as a for-purchase bride last year, where she says she was repeatedly raped and beaten by three different men who “bought” her, one after the other, in Jiangxi province.

The alleged broker responsible for sending her there, who is also facing accusations from one other woman, 20, in the same case, has admitted to having sent 30 Cambodian women to South Korea and seven to China as brides, according to police.

Bo Sina, 38, also known as Yann, was arrested in November 2013 after the two women contacted their parents from China. While Sina was arrested in the wake of the phone calls, it would be months later before the women were rescued.

Sina has been charged with “unlawful recruitment for exploitation” and “the act of selling, buying or exchanging a person with purpose” under the law on suppression of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, judge Kor Vandy said.

A Chinese man known only as “Mr Sweth” (meaning “skinny”) is also linked to the trafficking of the girls, who were allegedly sold for $10,000 to $15,000 each, but charges against him have been dropped because his identity is unknown, deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth said.

The 19-year-old victim yesterday told the court that Sina told her in August of last year that she was going to China for a garment worker job.

“When I arrived in China, I was brought by car by Mr Sweth from house to house to be sold to old Chinese men in poor communities in Jiangxi province,” she said.

“At first, I was sold to live with a Chinese farmer living near a mountain. Every day and night I was forced to work very hard from morning until evening. He also beat me every day if I declined to have sex with him.”

After three months, she was sold to another man, who treated her “like a sex slave”.

After another three months, she was again sold, and entered a civil partnership with her new “buyer”, who treated her in a similar fashion, she said, before she finally fled to the Cambodian Embassy in June.

She is now six months pregnant with the third man’s baby and is asking for $20,000 compensation.

Sina admitted yesterday that she had helped the victim find a job in China, “but I did not know that she was sold in China like this”, she said. “I did not sell her to Mr Sweth or any person as accused.”

Chinese Embassy political section head Cheng Hong Bo yesterday said that China was “strengthening cooperation” with Cambodia to combat human trafficking.

The verdict will be handed down on July 30.

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