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Surrogacy Law to be Drafted

Taing Vida / Khmer Time Share:

The government has appointed the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to draft a law to crack down on illegal activity surrounding the recently banned commercial surrogacy industry in Cambodia.
Ministry spokeswoman Kheng Sam Vada confirmed the news, which was originally announced by government spokesperson and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith in a brief Facebook post. 
Ms. Sam Vada added that the ministry will work with the Justice Ministry and Interior Ministry to draft the legislation as directed by Prime Minister Hun Sen. 
“Sure, the ministry is in charge of drafting this law because this was an order from our prime minister,” she told Khmer Times. 
“The law has yet to be drafted so I have no idea what it’s going to be like…this [surrogacy] issue is being closely monitored by the prime minister. 
“The law will be drafted for the benefit of all Cambodian women,” Ms. Sam Vada, who is also the ministry’s secretary of state, added. 
Chou Bun Eng, a secretary of state at the Interior Ministry as well as the vice-chairwoman of the government’s committee to fight human trafficking, said the pending legislature is intended to crack down on crimes arising from commercial surrogacy, but stopped short of providing any details on the law. 
“We only just started working on it now. So we will see whether it is beneficial and define what is considered a crime,” Ms. Bun Eng said.
She added that as of yesterday, none of the surrogates or biological parents engaged in surrogacy in Cambodia have come forward to authorities, leading the ministry to believe that the babies could have ended up as victims of trafficking. 
“This type of hiding arising from trickery is a bad thing and could be a crime. I still urge them to come forward and identify the babies,” she said. 
Attempts by Khmer Times to contact a Justice Ministry spokesperson seeking clarification on the law have gone unanswered.  
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month provisionally charged Fertility Solutions PGD founder Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, along with Phen Rithy, 28, an official from the Commerce Ministry, and nurse Samrithchan Chariya, 35.
They were accused over what are claimed to be fraudulent documents and for acting as intermediaries between adoptive parents and pregnant women.
Fertility Solutions PGD had hired 23 women to be surrogate mothers, five of whom had already given birth and had the babies reunited with the biological parents. 
The fate of the remaining 18 pregnant women remains uncertain as the government has yet to finalize a plan on how it will deal with the babies once born.
Melbourne newspaper The Age reported on Sunday that there were 70 Australian parents engaged in commercial surrogacy in Cambodia, but none of them have come forward to Cambodian authorities.
The Cambodian government has repeatedly urged biological parents as well as surrogate mothers to come forward, assuring them that they will be exempt from legal action. 
However to date, none have identified themselves.

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