The Appeal Court upheld a lower court’s eight-year sentence on a woman who was found guilty of attempting to marry off two Cambodian ladies to Chinese nationals in 2016.
Judge Plang Samnang read out the verdict on Tuesday, before Ouch Senghong, 45, from Tbong Khmum province’s Krouch Chhmar district.
“The Appeal Court has decided to uphold the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict, which means you will be sentenced to eight years in prison. However, if you are not satisfied with the verdict, you have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, one month after the verdict is issued,” he said.
During the trial on August 8, Senghong told the judge that while she was working as a waitress at a restaurant in Krouch Chhmar district from June 6-9, 2016, a man asked her to find young women who are keen to marry Chinese men.
He told her that if she can help arrange the women for marriage purposes, he would give her $2,000 as a commission.
Senghong said she took up the offer as she came from a poor family and has a daughter married to a Chinese national and living in China as well.
She then contacted two girls – aged 21 and 26 – and invited them to Phnom Penh and prepared the necessary travel documents.
Senghong told the judge that since she had experience in preparing such documents for her daughter, she did not face any problem in doing the paperwork for the two women.
The two victims lodged a complaint with the police, and this led to Senghong’s arrest on human trafficking charges.
Her case was heard by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 3, last year, and she was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempt trafficking under Article 10 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
In addition, the court ordered Senghong to pay two million riel in compensation to each victim.
On the day of the trial, the Appeal Court concluded that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court acted in accordance to the law.
Chea Panha, the defendant’s lawyer, said her client had confessed and cooperated at every stage of the trial, and therefore the court should reduce her punishment.