Accused Trafficker Denies Sending Teen to Chinese Brothels

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday heard the case of a 37-year-old woman accused of trafficking a 19-year-old woman to work in brothels in China.

Presiding Judge Kor Vandy told the court that Bou Sina, who was arrested in November, is charged with the trafficking of her 19-year-old victim, a crime that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

“[T]ell the court the truth of what you have done,” Judge Vandy told Ms. Sina, who denied the charge and insisted she simply helped the victim obtain a passport to go work in China.

“I am not a trafficker and I deny the charge against me,” she said. “I request the court release me back home now, because I am not guilty.”

Ms. Sina said the victim’s family approached her in July 2013, asking her to help find their daughter a job in China. She said she helped the 19-year-old with the paperwork to obtain a passport and introduced her to two Chinese men who said they were looking for Cambodian women to work in China.

“I just ran the paperwork for her, and she decided to work in China herself, and even her family agreed,” Ms. Sina said.

But the victim testified that upon arrival, she was sold by one of the Chinese men to a brothel in a rural part of China, where she was forced to have sex with customers who would beat her if she refused their advances.

She said she was then sold on to two other brothels, and was also forced to go to a local administration office with a Chinese man, who filed for a certificate of marriage there.

“I was forced to work in the house and they sold me from one house to another,” she told the court.

“They detained me for two to three weeks at one house and they forced me to have sex with them in addition to housework,” she said, adding that after three months she managed to escape to the Cambodian Embassy in Beijing.

Although the embassy was closed at the time, she sat outside the building and a human rights worker saw her and offered assistance.

She was repatriated to Cambodia in October and is seeking $20,000 in compensation from Ms. Sina.

A verdict in the case is scheduled to be handed down on July 30.

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