A woman was tried today for human trafficking for allegedly selling a Cambodian woman to a man in China.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court heard the case of alleged trafficker Phay Chantha, 34, who was charged with “unlawful removal for cross-border transfer” under Article 11 of the Anti-human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection law, which carries a sentence of seven to 15 years imprisonment.
According to court documents read out today, Chantha was arrested in April when she returned from China to Cambodia.
Chantha told the court she had also married a Chinese husband through a broker, but denied any wrongdoing, alleging that the mother of the victim had approached her asking whether she knew a Chinese man looking for a wife.
“I told her yes there was,” she said.
Chantha acknowledged in the hearing that a friend of her husband gave her $1,000 to make a passport, of which she gave $700 to the mother, and only kept $200.
According to the victim’s statement read in court, she soon found herself in China and married to an abusive husband.
“I was married to a construction worker. During the first three months, life was okay. But later on, my husband beat me and forced me to have sex [even] when I was not well,” she said in the statement.
The victim said she was helped to return to her homeland by a Cambodian woman she met on the internet. Upon returning, she filed a complaint with the police demanding $3,000 in compensation.
Chantha maintained she did not force the victim to marry the Chinese man and only helped her with the request from the mother.
Her defence lawyer, Keo Vanny, asked the court to drop charges as the marriage was legitimate and followed the mother’s request.
“In China, there was a marriage ceremony and a marriage certificate was issued for them. But when they had domestic violence, she accused my client,” Vanny said.
A verdict is due on January 5.
Updates to come.