A couple arrested for pressing more than 20 children into labour as snack vendors in the capital were convicted yesterday on charges of “subjecting a minor to working conditions harmful to his or her health”.
Judge Yin Saroeun sentenced defendants Chea Sady, 30, and his wife, Khen Vanthai, 28, to two years in prison each. Speaking after the verdict was read yesterday, Sady said he accepted the court’s decision.
“I will not appeal; I’ll just put up with it,” he said. The couple were arrested in a raid last September in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district following an investigation by anti-human trafficking police.
The raid found that there were 11 boys and 11 girls, aged from 6 to 16, being ferried into the city on a daily basis to sell fruit and snacks on the streets and in beer gardens from 6pm to as late as 5am.
The children were provided with only one meal a day, and after their work, were returned to the couple’s home, where they slept in cramped quarters.
Though the couple had maintained that they reserved some of the earnings for the children themselves, a police official said after the raid that both the “working conditions and shelter showed that these children were exploited”.