Court Finds Four Guilty in Two Human Trafficking Cases

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday convicted and sentenced four people to prison terms in two separate human-trafficking cases.

Judge Kor Vandy heard the case of Lim Heng Huot, 43, Phum Sapha, 60 and Chhai Chanthou, 39, who were arrested and charged in December with trafficking women to China as brides.

“You have been found guilty of trafficking women to China to marry Chinese men,” the judge said as he read out his verdict.

He said the victims had each given around $1,500 to the suspects for passports and plane tickets, and that they were arrested when they tried to travel to Vietnam by bus.

Heng Huot denied the charges, testifying that he had been approached by two women who wanted him to find them jobs overseas, so he took them to meet the other two suspects.

“I did not traffic them to China,” he said. “I was asked to help them find jobs in China, not to marry.”

Phum Sapha admitted receiving $100 in commission, but said the women had wanted to marry Chinese men of their own accord.

All three were sentenced to two years in prison with the majority of the terms suspended, meaning the three will each spend five months behind bars.

In a separate case, 23-year-old Chrea Linda was imprisoned for four years after Judge Suos Sam Ath found her guilty of trafficking two women to Thailand.

The victims, aged 17 and 20, were forced to work in a Thai brothel in August 2013, but eventually managed to escape.

“She lured two girls who were her friends from Kandal province to work in Thailand,” Judge Sam Ath said.

“But when they arrived in Trat province, in Thailand, she sold them to a brothel there, but they escaped to Phnom Penh,” he said.

In addition to prison time, Chrea Linda was ordered to pay four million riel, or about $1,000, to the two victims.

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