The Appeal Court on Tuesday reduced the prison sentence of a 53-year-old woman convicted of forcing children to beg for money on the streets of Phnom Penh to just a year from eight years originally.
Phuong Channy was found guilty under Article 12 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation and sentenced to eight years in prison in May last year.
However, after a February 26 hearing, the Appeal Court ruled that trying her under the Law on the
Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation was “incorrect” and instead applied Article 344 of the Criminal Code.
“The convict did not recruit others to beg on the streets, but the children were her grandchildren, nieces and nephews, so to use Article 12 of the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation to sentence her was incorrect."
“The Appeal Court has decided to reduce her sentence from eight years to one under Article 344 of the Criminal Code and the charge of inciting children to beg,” Judge Chay Chandaravann said.
Punishable by prison
According to Article 344, forcing children to beg is punishable by between one month and one year in prison, and a fine of between 100,000 to two million riel ($25-500).
Judge Chandaravann told the court that Phuong Channy forced her grandchildren, nephews and nieces to beg for money in Phnom Penh Capital for seven years before police arrested her.
She confessed that she had forced them to beg for money to buy baby powder and their food because their mother was away working.
Article 12 of the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation defines unlawful recruitment as to induce, hire or employ a person to engage in any form of exploitation with the use of deception, abuse of power, confinement, force, threats or any coercive means.
A person who unlawfully recruits another faces seven to 15 years in prison.
Channy forced the children, aged between six and 12, to beg around the capital’s Wat Phnom, the court heard. Anti-human trafficking police arrested her in 2017.