Three held for trying to smuggle two people to China

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - Three suspects were sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday accused of transnational human trafficking. They were arrested in the capital’s Daun Penh district on Tuesday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection
Office chief Keo Thea told The Post that the three – all Cambodians –
were detained as a part of a joint operation with Daun Penh district

They were allegedly planning to smuggle two victims, including
a minor, to China via Vietnam. Authorities have returned the victims to
their relatives’ care in their hometowns, according to Thea.

Thea identified the suspects as Cambodian national, 21, male, private
employee; Cambodian national, 21, male, security guard; and Cambodian
national, 27, female, karaoke parlour employee.

A Phnom Penh municipal police report said the victims agreed
to travel to China after a female intermediary tempted them with the
promise of $2,000 to $3,000.

The victims, who did not hold valid passports, were promised by the
intermediary that it would only take one day to have travel documents
issued. After this, the report said, the victims were to travel to Ho
Chi Minh City before another intermediary would receive them for the
final leg of their journey to China.

Thea said the arrests were made after an exhaustive search lasting
several days, before joint forces finally tracked the group down to Van
Rec bus station on the corner of Street 49 in Phsar Thmey III commune.

A 2018 UN study titled Forced Marriages Between Cambodia and China
revealed that Chinese clients pay brokers $10,000 to $20,000 to have
women from Cambodia brought to the mainland.

The victims unassumingly arrive in China with tourist visas that are
often only valid for one month, which prompts brokers to demand the
victims pay the cost of the trip, often pressuring them to enter the sex
trade or marry local men, according to the UN study.

A total of 986 Cambodian trafficking victims were repatriated from
nine countries in 2017, said official figures from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

This included 382 victims from Malaysia, Thailand (288), Vietnam
(171), China (53), Laos (49), Indonesia (23), Japan (12), Singapore
(five) and Myanmar (three).

Yim Voreak, the deputy secretary-general for the Ministry of
Interior’s National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking told The
Post that the government had established a four-year National Plan of
Action until 2023 to address the concern.