The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced a woman to seven years in prison on Friday for taking a Cambodian woman to marry a man in China.
Presiding Judge Mong Vimean Sophea also ordered 34-year-old defendant Phay Chantha to pay $3,000 in compensation to the victim.
Keo Vanny, Chantha’s defence attorney, said he would file an appeal. “The victim agreed to go by mutual agreement, and when she arrived in China, she got married legally,” Vanny said. “So, accusing [Chantha] that she trafficked her, it wasn’t that at all.”
The victim, through a statement to the court, said she had agreed to go to China as a bride but was physically and sexually abused by her husband and never received the payment promised.
Cambodian law forbids exchanges that involve making a profit or “force, threat, deception, abuse of power, or enticement”.
“When you transfer people with a clear destination and then put people into sex slavery or labour exploitation and so on, it should be considered human trafficking,” said labour rights advocate Moeun Tola.