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Appeal Court upholds charge against woman who trafficked two young brides to China

Appeal Court upholds charge against woman who trafficked two young brides to China

The Appeal Court on Wednesday heard the case of a woman who was sentenced to eight years in prison last year for sending two Cambodians to China for marriage in 2016.

The lower court record read out by Presiding Judge Plang Samnang said Ouch Senghong, 45, from Tbong Khmum province’s Krouch Chhmar district, lured two unidentified women, aged 21 and 26, into marriage in June 2016, when they agreed to travel to the capital.

However, the victims filed a complaint against Senghong on the suspicion of human trafficking, leading to her arrest.

Eight years in jail

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Senghong to eight years in prison on January 3, last year, on a charge of “unlawful removal with purpose” under Article 10 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.

The court also ordered Senghong to pay the victims two million riel ($500) each in compensation.

At the Appeal Court on Wednesday, Senghong pleaded for mercy, claiming she was approached by a man about arranging marriages between Cambodian women and Chinese men in China with a promise of $2,000.

“I did it because I am poor. I won’t do it again if I am released. I would like to ask the court to reduce the sentence to two years,” she said.

Prosecutor Khut Sopheang asked the court to uphold the guilty verdict.

“The convict had admitted her guilt. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision is just, so the sentence should be upheld,” Sopheang said.

The Appeal Court verdict will be delivered on August 22.

Defence lawyer Chea Panha said Senghong deserved a lighter punishment.

“My client has admitted her guilt so the court should reduce her sentence,” he said.

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