Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surrogacy suspects charged



Surrogacy suspects charged

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Eighteen people, including three in absentia, were charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday for their involvement in a surrogacy case. Pha Lina

Surrogacy suspects charged

Prosecutors at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged 18 people on Tuesday, including three in absentia, for their involvement in surrogacy after 15 of them were arrested in the capital’s Sen Sok district on November 8.

Reached for comment on Tuesday, municipal court spokesman Ly Sophanna said that 14 of them had been charged with cross-border human trafficking and unlawful intermediary roles between adoptive parents and surrogate mothers.

“After comprehensively reviewing the case, the prosecution decided to charge 14 suspects under Article 16 of the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Article 332 of the Criminal Code.

“The other four suspects have been charged with conspiracy to traffic humans across the border and acting as intermediaries between adoptive parents and surrogate mothers,” Sophanna said.

Touch Sarein, the deputy chief of the municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau, told The Post on Tuesday that authorities are hunting down the other suspects.

“We continue to investigate the surrogate mothers, some of whom are garment workers and some who stayed at home [unemployed],” he said.

The bureau previously said on Sunday that there were two men and 13 women among the 15 detainees. Of the 13 women, 11 were pregnant.

In late October, Interior Ministry secretary of state Chou Bun Eng said a defence lawyer for another 32 surrogate mothers submitted a document to the court requesting bail for them so that they could raise their children.

They also promised not to send their children to the adoptive parents.

Thida Khus, the executive director of NGO Silaka, said surrogate mothers should be treated as victims. She said because there is no surrogacy law in place, their actions could not be considered illegal.

“[Authorities] accuse them of acting against the law, but we don’t have a surrogacy law yet. We should not accuse them of trafficking based on the human trafficking law. It is not the right timing. We lag behind in terms of surrogacy techniques. They didn’t know it’s illegal,” she said.

Khus appealed for a speedy passage and promulgation of the surrogacy law before more women fall victim to the practice.

Ministry of Women’s Affairs spokesman Pon Putborei said the ministry is concerned about the ongoing cases.

“The ministry is proposing a meeting [with relevant authorities] to discuss the drafting of a surrogacy law and its enforcement. We are looking at the first draft to determine whether it covers the new [surrogacy] cases. Cambodian women should know that it’s a problem,” he said.

Interior Ministry secretary of state Chou Bun Eng could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma