Two Pakistani men and a Cambodian woman suspected of attempting to traffic three women to Pakistan for prostitution were arrested in a tuk-tuk and guesthouse in Phnom Penh over the past two days, according to officials.
Phat Phalla, deputy chief of the municipal police’s anti-human trafficking force, said the suspects—Pakistani nationals Niaz Ahmed, 55, and Yazef Ahmed, 24, and the suspected broker, Cambodian Bin Nhor, 72—were put under surveillance earlier this month after police received a complaint that the men were selling shoes and computers on the street.
Mr. Phalla said an ensuing investigation led police officers to Phnom Penh’s Grey Guesthouse on Thursday, where they found three Cambodian women believed to be trafficking victims and a man whose role remained unclear on Monday. They did not make any arrests at the time.
Mr. Phalla said Mr. Niaz, Ms. Nhor and one of the women were arrested while in a tuk-tuk in Daun Penh district on Sunday night, while Mr. Yazef, the other two women and a Cambodian man were arrested in a room at the Capital Guesthouse in Prampi Makara district on Monday morning.
“We arrested the two Pakistani nationals and the Khmer broker because our forces investigated and found that they attempted to bring the three rescued women to Pakistan for prostitution,” he said.
“The suspects took family books of the three women and made passports in an attempt to bring the women to Thailand by bus and then continue to fly to Pakistan.”
Mr. Phalla said the suspects, would-be trafficking victims and the Cambodian man were being detained at the municipal anti- trafficking police office.
“We are now building a case to send the suspects to court,” he said, referring further questions to his boss, Keo Thea.
Mr. Thea declined to comment on whether he knew of other cases of Cambodian women being trafficked to Pakistan.
Four anti-trafficking groups contacted on Monday said they were not aware of any previous attempts—successful or not—to send Cambodian women to the South Asian country for prostitution.
(Additional reporting by Sonia Kohlbacher)