Four men suspected of attempting to traffic women into China under the pretense that they would marry wealthy men were arrested in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, anti-human trafficking police said.
Keo Thea, anti-human trafficking police chief, said that the suspects had been involved in trading women to China “for many years,” and that they had come to the attention of police when two women who had agreed to go to China became suspicious of the deal and contacted police.
“We arrested four men yesterday due to the complaints of two women who heard they were going to China via Vietnam and not directly [to China] as promised,” Mr. Thea said.
“This time they [the traffickers] changed their direction to smuggle the women across the Bavet border international checkpoint [in Svay Rieng province] to Vietnam,” he said.
The women, a 20-year-old from Kratie province and a 21-year-old from Kompong Cham province, had agreed to a deal with the traffickers believing they would marry into wealthy families.
After learning that they would be crossing into Vietnam, the women attempted to rescind the deal.
“The two victims rejected the deal to go to Vietnam, which [caused] the four suspects to threaten them and extort their money,” Mr. Thea said, adding that the women had paid $500 each to the suspected traffickers to pay for passports and visas.
“That is when they came to police,” Mr. Thea said, adding that the four suspects would face court today.
In November, anti-trafficking police arrested five people in two separate cases for allegedly attempting to send six young women to China and Macau as brides.
The suspects were arrested at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports after police became suspicious of their behavior.
At the time, Hoy Pich Sovann, program officer with the Community Legal Education Center, said that such cases were on the rise in Cambodia and that China’s controversial one-child policy, which sees boys favored, was a root of the problem.