Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surrogate mothers face charges for trafficking

Surrogate mothers face charges for trafficking

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police arrest 15 people alleged to be involved in a surrogacy case on Thursday in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district. Photo supplied

Surrogate mothers face charges for trafficking

The Phnom Penh Municipal Police are to send 15 people to court for their alleged involvement in a surrogacy case, said its anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau deputy chief Touch Sarein.

He said the 13 women and two men will be taken to court on Monday, following their arrest in the capital’s Sen Sok district on November 8.

“We [will] send them as soon as we finish preparing the documentation,” he said on Monday, adding that 11 of the detainees were pregnant women.

Sarein said his team needed time to carry out the interrogation process and couldn’t finish earlier due to the number of detainees. “We asked the court for a postponement in order to launch a thorough investigation,” he said.

No further details are available while the experts “determine the appropriate legal action”, he said.

Ministry of Interior secretary of state Chou Bun Eng said officials are still figuring out the mastermind in the case and that similar cases have happened before.

“[The perpetrators] will be charged according to the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.”

Bun Eng said that civil society organisations regard the pregnant women as “victims”. But she argued that the latter might be in collusion with the perpetrators.

“[Those women] have the intention to exchange their babies for money. If we ask any one of them, they are aware of it,” she said.

In June, the authorities detained several people in an alleged surrogacy ring, among whom were the mastermind and her accomplices, as well as 32 women who were offered a certain amount of money to have children for Chinese clients.

Those “surrogate mothers”, who were initially regarded as victims, were eventually charged with “The Act of Selling, Buying or Exchanging a Person for Cross-border Transfer” according to Article 16 of the human trafficking law.

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

In late October, Bun Eng said the lawyer for the 32 women filed an appeal in court for their temporary release.

She added that the women wished to care for their newborns, and to prevent the babies from being handed to the clients.

Anti-human trafficking prosecutors claimed that the mothers were offered up to $10,000, paid in instalments – $500 every month during pregnancy and $300 each month post-delivery until they receive the entire agreed amount.

MOST VIEWED

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • PM blasts Vietnam general over Covid claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 6 expressed dismay after Vietnamese general Hoang Xuan Chien, formerly in charge of Vietnam’s border defences, claimed that Cambodia was a source of Covid-19 transmissions to the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng