Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Baby sellers face inquiry

Baby sellers face inquiry

Baby sellers face inquiry

Government officials will investigate the case of an illegal baby-selling ring broken up in Thailand last week that may also be operating in Cambodia, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said yesterday.

Last week in Bangkok, Thai officials freed 14 Vietnamese women who said they had been trafficked and held against their will by a firm known as “Baby 101” that offers up surrogate mothers for wealthy couples in Taiwan and elsewhere.

Victims said the company also has offices in Phnom Penh, the Bangkok Post reported, and on what is apparently its website, the firm lists local phone numbers and says it has a “reception office” in Phnom Penh.

Government officials contacted earlier this week said they were unfamiliar with the case, though Khieu Sopheak said yesterday that the Interior Ministry would work urgently to address the matter.

“I just got this information. We have to broadcast this information and the ministry has to investigate this case,” he said. “Human beings are not like beef, pork, chicken or ducks that can be sold in a market.”

Thai police have arrested an unknown number of Baby 101 staff who are being held in detention, while the Vietnamese women are set to be returned home. Thai Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit told reporters in Bangkok last week that the business was “illegal and inhuman”, and that some victims had shown signs of rape.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said yesterday that the suspects could face charges for human trafficking, money laundering and several other offences. He declined to comment in detail on the investigation but said Thailand would keep officials from neighbouring countries abreast of the case.
“Once the case has proceeded forward, I think the linkages and networking of these individuals will be further investigated,” Panitan said, adding that Thailand had been “working closely” with regional governments to combat cross-border crime.

Photos of 40 different women appear along with numbered codes on the apparent Baby 101 website, where visitors are encouraged to browse their various surrogacy options. The fee for the entire process is listed at US$32,000.

Calls to Baby 101’s Cambodian phone numbers were not answered yesterday.  The website does not list a local address.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Bumpy road for local ride apps

    Ride-hailing services seem to have grown into a dominant player in the capital’s transportation sector. Relatively unknown and little used in the Kingdom at the beginning of this year, services like PassApp, Grab and ExNet are now commonplace on Phnom Penh streets. However, the

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition