Kratie Provincial Court on Saturday charged and jailed a woman for trafficking three underage girls for marriage in China last year.
Colonel Nouv Ratana, chief of the provincial Anti-human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, yesterday identified the accused as Chim Chantha, a 55-year-old farmer living in Roka Bram commune’s Pong Toek village in Tboung Khmum province’s Tboung Khmum district.
Col Ratana said Ms Chantha was charged with unlawful removal for cross-border transfer following her arrest on Thursday. She added that the accused is facing between seven and 15 years in prison if convicted and is currently in pre-trial detention.
Captain Chan Sopheak, a police officer with the same department, said Ms Chantha was suspected of recruiting girls from poor families in Kratie and Tboung Khmum provinces to be married off to men in China since 2017.
Cap Sopheak said police arrested the accused on Thursday in her house in Tboung Khmum province in accordance with a complaint filed by three victims to Kratie provincial police on July 12 last year.
Cap Sopheak noted that in 2018, Ms Chantha persuaded three underage girls living in Kratie province’s Snuol district to marry Chinese men in China.
Cap Sopheak said that before travelling to China, the accused, through an unidentified woman, paid $3,000 to each of the victim’s family as fee for their daughter.
Cap Sopheak added that the unidentified woman, who is still at large, also prepared the victims for their journey, including arranging their passports, visa and transportation.
“But when the victims arrived in China, a Chinese national, who was the ringleader of the human trafficking group, took their passports and sold them to work as commercial sex workers and masseuses in a karaoke club there,” Cap Sopheak said.
“While living and working [in China], the owner of the karaoke club forced them to work hard to get paid. The owner of the club forced them to have sex with guests,” he added.
Cap Sopheak noted that in April, the victims could no longer stand their condition and fled the karaoke club, travelling in a taxi to the Cambodian embassy in China for intervention. They were repatriated home in June this year.
He added that their families were alerted upon their arrival in Kratie province. The victims and their families later filed a complaint against the accused to the provincial Anti-human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, which led to the arrest of the accused on Thursday.