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China-Kingdom MoU targets illicit bride market

China-Kingdom MoU targets illicit bride market

A government anti-trafficking committee is in the final steps of drafting a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to crack down on human trafficking between Cambodia and China, an official said yesterday.

Ran Serey Leakhena, deputy secretary general of the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking (NCCT), said that a meeting was held on Thursday to draft the MoU. It would be signed by both countries in late May or early June, she said.

“The aim is to focus on the forced marriages of Cambodians to Chinese. There have been problems of Cambodian women marrying Chinese men, with abuses and rights violations,” she said.

The MoU would also address marriage licensing procedures between Chinese and Cambodian couples, she said, though any changes would not cover already married couples.

Cambodia is a source country for humans trafficked to China and other countries, according to the US State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons report. Many victims are women coerced into going to China, usually by dishonest offers of employment, only to be forced into marriage with a male Chinese buyer, the report said.

In 2015 alone, 82 Cambodian women were repatriated from China after being tricked into marrying Chinese men, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In January, an appeals court upheld a seven-year sentence for a Chinese woman who tried to coerce two Phnom Penh fruit sellers into relocating to China in 2013, claiming they would be taught to manufacture umbrellas.

Last month, in a move to streamline Cambodia’s clunky counter-trafficking apparatus, the government released guidelines to deal with human-trafficking cases.

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