Anti-human trafficking police in Phnom Penh arrested three Cambodians and two Chinese nationals after the group tried to traffic two young women—who had been promised wealthy husbands—to work as prostitutes in China, police said Monday.
Keo Thea, chief of the municipal anti-human trafficking police, said the two women and one of the Chinese men had been detained at Phnom Penh International Airport on Sunday when they attempted to board a flight for China at about 2:30 p.m.
“We arrested a Chinese man and rescued two girls at the airport as they were preparing to fly to China on Sunday,” Mr. Thea said, adding that the man immediately confessed and police subsequently arrested the other four people involved at a condo in Tuol Kok district.
The Chinese nationals, Xu Jinlong, 33, and Su Zhisheng, 38, along with their Cambodian accomplices, Sok Bora, 25, Sath Sreylaut, 25, and Lam Lana, 35, said that they planned to sell the women from Takeo province into prostitution once they had arrived in China.
“The five people already confessed they had promised the women that they were taking them to get married in China, but that they were actually going to sell them” to brothels, Mr. Thea said.
The victims—one of whom was traveling on fake documents as she was underage—have been released.
The five suspects will be charged with human trafficking and face seven to 15 years imprisonment under Article 16 of the anti-human trafficking law.
“We will also charge them with faking documents for an under-aged girl because she wasn’t old enough to marry,” Mr. Thea said, adding that the suspects would be sent to court today.
Lim Mony, deputy head of the women’s program at rights group Adhoc, said that her organization had seen a recent increase in the number of women being trafficked to China.
In most cases, she said, parents and victims were shown pictures of attractive and wealthy Chinese men they were told they would marry, but were in fact be trafficked into prostitution or forced labor, or forced to marry poor, sometimes disabled men.
“We are very worried about sending girls to China….They are exploited,” Ms. Mony said.