Kompong Cham Woman Charged With Human Trafficking

The Kompong Cham Provincial Court on Monday charged a 39-year-old woman with human trafficking after she allegedly tricked more than a dozen people into traveling to work in Malaysia under false premises, officials said.

Horm Ley was arrested in Chamkar Loeu district’s Speu commune at about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, said Min Sovisal, chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking police bureau.

“We arrested her based on a court warrant for allegedly trafficking people to Malaysia…. We arrested her nearly a week after she came back from Malaysia,” Mr. Sovisal said.

Ms. Ley’s arrest came after eight migrant workers she had tricked were detained by Malaysian authorities on March 6 at a checkpoint on the Thai border as they attempted to return home after fleeing a palm oil plantation where their passports had been confiscated, he said.

“The victims told police that they were cheated and [had been] told they would find a good job with a high salary, but contrary to the promise most of them were arrested by Malaysian police and put in jail,” Mr. Sovisal said.

He said that Ms. Ley confessed to trafficking the group and admitted to having received $200 for each worker from a Cambodian “ringleader” in Malaysia.

Kel Srey Niet, 30, the wife of 34-year-old Dim Va—who is currently awaiting trial in Malaysia after being arrested with no passport—explained the harsh conditions her husband was forced to work under in Malaysia after Ms. Ley facilitated his travel to the country.

“My husband called me when he decided to escape from the palm oil plantation because his boss forced him to work overtime with a lack of health care,” said Ms. Srey Niet.

Phann Sopheak, Kompong Cham deputy prosecutor, said Ms. Ley had been charged with human trafficking. He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cambodian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur were attempting to locate six other workers thought to have been trafficked with the group.

“We decided to charge her under Article 11 of the human trafficking law,” he said, adding that she had been provisionally detained at the provincial prison.

The court was investigating other suspected members of the trafficking ring, Mr. Sopheak said.

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