Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fifteen surrogate mothers released following pledges

Fifteen surrogate mothers released following pledges

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A surrogate mother pictured in a Kampong Speu neighbourhood in 2016. Fifteen surrogate mothers, part of the 32 detained in July for their alleged involvement in a surrogacy ring, have been freed on bail. Eliah Lillis

Fifteen surrogate mothers released following pledges

Fifteen surrogate mothers – part of the 32 detained in July for agreeing to carry babies for Chinese nationals – have been freed, after the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking (NCCT) requested the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to release them on bail.

The women pledged, in writing, to raise their babies and not send them to the intended parents.

One officer who guarded the women at the 16 Usaphea Police Hospital said as of Tuesday, 17 of them had been admitted to the hospital. 15, who delivered their babies there, have been released or are expected to be freed this week.

One surrogate mother who gave birth behind bars three months ago said she was asked to write a written promise upon her release on Monday.

“In exchange for our release, we have to promise that we will raise our babies until they are 18 years old. [The authorities] are going to monitor us . . . if the baby is [gone], I will be sent to Prey Sar prison."

“For me, I love my baby boy and I will raise him by myself,” she said.

A husband of one of the mothers said he is looking forward to reuniting with his wife. “I have really missed her,” he said, adding that he is “willing to bring his wife’s baby home”.

Upon their arrest in July, the surrogates were regarded as victims, but the women were eventually charged with “The Act of Selling, Buying or Exchanging a Person for Cross-border Transfer” according to Article 16 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.

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

In late October, their lawyer filed an appeal in court for their release on bail.

The reason behind the appeal was that the women had wished to care for their newborns, according to the Interior Ministry Secretary of State Chou Bun Eng.

Capacity building NGO Silaka’s Executive Director Thida Khus applauded the court’s decision to release the women.

The move, she said, would “pave the way for elaborate research and investigation which may lead to the creation of strong laws to prevent similar cases from happening in the future”.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court administration deputy chief Sous Vichyea Randy and Bun Eng, could not be reached for comments.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement