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Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A screenshot of the victim woman posted a video calling for help from the Cambodian authorities.

Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety.

The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old woman from Kampong Speu province borrowed a phone from a neighbour and posted a video calling for help from the Cambodian authorities.

“Please help convey this video to [Prime Minister Hun Sen] and ask him to help me get back to Cambodia. I’m in Nanchang city of Jiangxi province in China. My husband has treated me very badly. I have not been in contact with my family for four years,” she said in the two-plus minute video posted to TikTok.

According to her statements in the video, she said she had never gotten along with her husband’s family – especially not with her mother-in-law and father-in-law. She said her husband had beaten her and treated her like a servant and had even sent her to work in the fields while pregnant causing her to suffer through three miscarriages.

Chou Bun Eng, Ministry of Interior secretary of state and the permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT), told The Post on September 22 that immediately after receiving the information about the woman’s plight the Cambodian government intervened by contacting their counterparts in China to arrange the woman’s rescue.

“After we figured out her exact location, Chinese police officers went to her home and escorted her to the police headquarters in Beijing to interview her about her husband and his family’s conduct,” she said.

She added that after completing a mandated Covid-19 quarantine period for those who travel between provinces in China, the Chinese police will inform the Cambodian embassy in China to make preparations for her trip home.

“So, we want others who have yet to be cheated to learn about these terrible experiences, because we know that not all those who go abroad are happy. She thinks that going to another country means that her husband will be rich and earn good money and build them a house.

“But in the end, she went to China only to be made to work in the fields. Why go to China to do that for free when you’ll at least get paid to do that work here? If you go abroad to become someone’s wife there will be no salary and you won’t be able to quit, but you will be forced to serve them anyways,” she said.

Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (Central), said there are two factors that make some Cambodian people vulnerable to being cheated by brokers: Motivation and temptation.

Motivation was due to the poverty of some Cambodians. They often lacked job skills, worked irregularly or were chronically unemployed and at the same time were burdened by large amounts of personal debt.

Temptation was due to the brokers who lied to Cambodian women about their husband’s wealth or their job prospects and pay over in China. The victims’ lives are difficult and they want to believe that what the broker is saying is true because it will solve all of their problems, but they discover that it was all lies upon their arrival in a foreign land.

“Actually, when we interview most victims they say that they had no direct contact with the man they are marrying in China.

“Brokers lured them over there and said that working there or marrying a Chinese husband will make them wealthy enough to live a good life and send money to their family back home at the same time. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably isn’t true,” he warned.

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