Anti-human trafficking police arrested a man and a woman at Phnom Penh International Airport on Tuesday night, as they attempted to send two Cambodian women to be sold as brides in China.
According to police, To Ma, 25, and his wife, 24-year-old Nai Theary, received $10,000 for every woman they sent, and ran an operation that extended far beyond the victims rescued on Tuesday.
“They were preparing passports for five other Cambodian women due to go China,” said a report from the anti-trafficking unit.
According to the report, the sister of one of the pair is based in China, from where she directs the network.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sonry yesterday said in a statement that a further five brides unconnected to this network are due to arrive in Phnom Penh today.
All five were rescued from abusive marriages after being purchased by Chinese men.
Sonry stated that so far this year, the ministry has been involved in the rescue of 50 brides from China – putting them on course to exceed the 59 rescued last year.
Chhorn Sokuntea, who leads the women and children section at rights group Adhoc, yesterday said impoverished women and their families are often tricked into believing well-paid employment or rich husbands beckon in China.
“We still get complaints from families seeking help,” she said.