A 26-year-old woman was arrested and charged on Saturday for involvement with trafficking Cambodian women to work illegally in Malaysia.
Um Radin, also known as Moam, Ma and Juli, appeared in Phnom Penh Municipal Court accused of trafficking 26 women aged between 19 and 30.
She faces between five and seven years in prison if convicted.
Sok Phalla, a police officer with the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking unit, said Ms Radin was formerly a garment factory worker in Malaysia.
Between 2014 and 2015, she allegedly brought 26 women from Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and Kratie provinces to work in the country. The women were told they would be employed as maids, for a wage of $300-$400 each month.
The 26 victims were taken by bus from Cambodia to Malaysia via Thailand.
The suspect covered the expenses of the women, including passports, visas, travel tickets and food, on the basis they would repay her $1,500 each when they became employed.
“However when the victims arrived in Malaysia, they were sold to work as slaves or masseuses at massages shops,” Mr Phalla said.
“They worked there for many months without payment.”
The victims eventually escaped and sought help from the Cambodian embassy, which led to them being repatriated in 2016.
After returning home, the victims filed complaints against the suspect with the Interior Ministry.
The suspect was arrested when she flew to Cambodia for a visit from Malaysia last month.