Ching Pheach, 53, holds his new baby, unnamed as yet, whom he bought for 30,000 riel from the child's destitute natural mother in Kampong Thom on Oct 10.
HUMAN rights groups in the provinces are warning that
poverty and hunger are forcing some parents to give up
their children - many of whom end up in brothels.
But for one 7-month- old boy, his outlook is considerably
His 25-year-old mother took the boy to Kampong Thom
market when she realized she could no longer feed her
On October 10 she offered him for sale for 20,000
At that point his future became a lottery but one of
the market sellers, Ching Pheach, took an interest in the
boy and offered to bring him up.
He said he had never thought of buying a child but it
seemed to him that it was the right thing to do for
"I had no plan to buy a human for smuggling. So
why did I buy this boy? Because I have no children. Not
"According to the Buddhist way this boy will have
good fortune with me."
He said he also believed that bring up the boy and
giving money to the family will gain him merit.
"According to the Buddhist Dhama of fate, I am
one of the men who saved people's lives so I will achieve
a lot of merit, and I saved their family, and will also
educate him to be a good man in the future," he
Pheach added that there was also a very personal
reason for wanting to bring up the child.
"In 1994 my wife gave birth to a boy and he died
three days later.
"I think that this boy," he said, indicating
his new, as yet unnamed son, " is my child who died
but has now come back to live with me - even thought he
was born to a different mother.
"So I concluded that this boy is my son who died
He said he would be naming his new son at some time in
the future, after the boy had been with the family longer
and had remained healthy.
Pheach said he was keen to see that everything was
done properly so he and the boy's natural mother signed a
contract which said that she would give the child over to
"Uncle Pheach" because she was having trouble
The contract also stipulated that the mother would
take back responsibility for the child if anything
happened to his adopted family.
Though Pheach said he would do everything he could for
his new son, he did acknowledge this promise despite the
fact that his business - selling buffalo harnesses and
leads - "was not going so well" at present.
Chap Mil, a deputy chief of Stung district, said that
in his area of control there were no families selling
But, he admitted, some were farming their children out
to friends and relatives better able to care for them.
Meanwhile in another case Lim Vunny, 45, a teacher of
Slaket primary school, Kampong Thom province said she was
one of the people who had bought children from poor
villagers who were trying to sell them on the street.
She said that she had four boys but no girl so she
decided to buy the girl.
"Myself, I have four boys but I want to have a
daughter because the girls are closer to their parents
than are the boys and she can look after her parents when
we are old," she said.