Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surrogate mothers face charges for trafficking

Surrogate mothers face charges for trafficking

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police arrest 15 people alleged to be involved in a surrogacy case on Thursday in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district. Photo supplied

Surrogate mothers face charges for trafficking

The Phnom Penh Municipal Police are to send 15 people to court for their alleged involvement in a surrogacy case, said its anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau deputy chief Touch Sarein.

He said the 13 women and two men will be taken to court on Monday, following their arrest in the capital’s Sen Sok district on November 8.

“We [will] send them as soon as we finish preparing the documentation,” he said on Monday, adding that 11 of the detainees were pregnant women.

Sarein said his team needed time to carry out the interrogation process and couldn’t finish earlier due to the number of detainees. “We asked the court for a postponement in order to launch a thorough investigation,” he said.

No further details are available while the experts “determine the appropriate legal action”, he said.

Ministry of Interior secretary of state Chou Bun Eng said officials are still figuring out the mastermind in the case and that similar cases have happened before.

“[The perpetrators] will be charged according to the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.”

Bun Eng said that civil society organisations regard the pregnant women as “victims”. But she argued that the latter might be in collusion with the perpetrators.

“[Those women] have the intention to exchange their babies for money. If we ask any one of them, they are aware of it,” she said.

In June, the authorities detained several people in an alleged surrogacy ring, among whom were the mastermind and her accomplices, as well as 32 women who were offered a certain amount of money to have children for Chinese clients.

Those “surrogate mothers”, who were initially regarded as victims, were eventually charged with “The Act of Selling, Buying or Exchanging a Person for Cross-border Transfer” according to Article 16 of the human trafficking law.

The article stipulates that the act is punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years.

In late October, Bun Eng said the lawyer for the 32 women filed an appeal in court for their temporary release.

She added that the women wished to care for their newborns, and to prevent the babies from being handed to the clients.

Anti-human trafficking prosecutors claimed that the mothers were offered up to $10,000, paid in instalments – $500 every month during pregnancy and $300 each month post-delivery until they receive the entire agreed amount.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,