A Vietnamese man and a Cambodian woman have been sentenced to eight years in prison for trafficking 28 women into China’s notorious bride trade.

Chinese national Choeung Khan Long, 45, pictured after his arrest in April 2017, was today sentenced to eight years in prison for trafficking a Cambodian woman to become a Chinese bride. Photo supplied

Choeung Khan Long, 45, and Srab Ly Eng, 39, were today convicted of “unlawful removal with purpose” under Article 10 of the anti-trafficking law. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

The National Police arrested the duo on April 19 and 20 last year in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district. They alleged that Ly Eng was paid $3,000 dollars to recruit the women, while Khan Long was paid $1,000 to prepare documents to smuggle them over the Vietnamese border. The victims’ mothers were paid $1,500, police said.

Three other traffickers, based in Vietnam, then moved the victims over the Chinese border to be married – reportedly against their will – to Chinese grooms. Two victims were repatriated in March last year, while the remaining 26 continue to live in China.

“Having listened to the arguments of the accused, reviewing the evidence and the conclusions of the prosecutor and lawyers, and reviewing the case according to the law, the court decides to sentence [them] to eight years in jail,” Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Y Thavrak said today.

The trafficking occurred between 2015 and 2017, he said, and the guilty parties must pay 20 million riel ($5,000) in compensation to one of their victims.

Helen Sworn, of anti-trafficking charity Chab Dai, said seeing traffickers punished might serve as a deterrent.

“We certainly hope that it will make a difference. But we also know that many are prepared to take the risk for the profit unfortunately,” she said.