Two Pakistani men and a Cambodian woman who were planning to traffic Cambodians into the Saudi Arabian sex trade in 2016 yesterday saw their sentences reduced by one year and more than three years, respectively, at the Appeals Court.

Judge Sin Visal said the reason behind the ruling was that prosecutors believed suspects Niaz Ahmed, 55, and his son, Yazeo Ahmed, 24, were not lying when they said the victims were not coerced.

Bin Nhor, 65, who brought Cambodian women to Phnom Penh to meet Niaz Ahmed, also insisted there was no coercion, saying the victim’s parents had entrusted her to help their daughters get work in Saudi Arabia, Visal said. Nhor’s testimony to police and the court was consistent with that of the victims.

The court also found that the suspects had only planned the trafficking, which ultimately did not take place, prompting a reduction in the charge.

On August 21, 2016, Nhor brought three Cambodian women and one man to meet Niaz Ahmed at the old night market, but authorities arrested them while they were in a tuk-tuk, according to a police report of the case.

“Suspects Niaz Ahmed and Yazeo Ahmed were sentenced to seven years in prison by the lower court, but the punishment is now reduced to six years, and the charges were changed from Article 11 - 'unlawful removal for cross-border transfer' - of the Anti-Human Trafficking Law to 'attempted unlawful removal for cross-border transfer',” Visal said.

Nhor was sentenced to five years in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but her sentenced was reduced to only 18 months after her original charge, which was the same as the other two suspects', was reduced to “accomplice”.