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Baby saved from ‘traffickers’

Heng Chhun, 47, who alledgedly attempted to traffic three adults and a toddler, was detained at the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection office in Phnom Penh.
Heng Chhun, 47, who alledgedly attempted to traffic three adults and a toddler, was detained at the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection office in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Baby saved from ‘traffickers’

A 7-month-old baby, a woman and two men en route to Malaysia were rescued from two alleged traffickers near the Cambodia-Thai border in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet town, police said yesterday.

Heng Chhun, 48, and Som Na, 38, will face charges related to human trafficking, Prum Sonthor, a deputy police officer in the capital, said yesterday, adding the infant was sold to Chhun and Na for $400.

The three adults being trafficked were identified as Chhun Srey Phea, 20; Long Srey, 47; and Sol Thon, 33.

“In this trafficking case, the [suspects] were planning to use the baby so travellers and tourists in Malaysia would take pity on them,” Sonthor said during the press conference.

Srey Phea, the sole woman being trafficked in this case, told reporters that the prospect of earning money begging abroad is how the brokers convinced her to cross the border.

“I have no knowledge to find a good job, but I want to go abroad,” Phea said.

Keo Thea, head of the municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection unit, said the baby was bought in Phnom Penh while the three victims are from Battambang province.

“The baby was stolen. We’re searching for her parents now, but [following the brokers’arrest], she was taken to a local NGO,” Thea said.

The infant is being cared for by Children and Families Organisation until the parents are located, the NGO’s national director Keo Ravy said.

“We are worried about her [the baby’s] health without enough milk and care. We will care for her until we find the real parents or adoptive parents,” Ravy said.

Alan Lemon, director of operations for the Cambodian Children’s Fund’s child protection unit, told the Post that while infant trafficking throughout the Kingdom was likely underreported, this case not unique.

“We have heard of several instances involving infant trafficking, but finding reliable figures is difficult. I can tell you that Cambodian national police are certainly aware of the problem,” Lemon said.

Last December, Poipet governor Ngor Meng Chroun said not a single case of human trafficking had occurred at the border during 2012.

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