An anti-trafficking committee has reissued instructions to provincial authorities to monitor any pre-existing or new cases in the now-outlawed surrogacy industry, asking officials to be on the lookout for persons attempting to convince women to become surrogates.
The March 29 directive, signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, comes more than two months after a January 8 deadline for “surrogacy amnesty”, before which surrogate mothers were allowed to hand over the baby to the intended parents without facing the risk of prosecution.
The new notification reminds provincial officials that the instructions issued last June, which announced the deadline, were still in force and that authorities should continue to monitor suspected surrogacy clinics and potential agents.
“Continue to search, monitor, and investigate suspicious cases of intermediaries or anyone who colludes to lobby [women] for surrogacy, makes them give the baby away or the unlawful removal of baby [from the country],” the directive reads.
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Australian Tammy Davis-Charles and two co-defendants, were arrested in November 2016 and convicted following a snap ban on Cambodia’s growing commercial surrogacy industry.
Chhou Bun Eng, of the National Committee to Counter Trafficking, said the directive was not aimed at mothers who had delivered before the deadline. Pak Youleang, of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-HumanTrafficking Department, said that there were no illegal cases of surrogacy recorded for 2018.