Surrogacy, Organ Trafficking at Top of Agenda

A half-year meeting of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking on Tuesday raised surrogacy and organ trafficking as the two foremost concerns for the year, an official said.

Chou Bun Eng, secretary of state at the Interior Ministry and vice chair of the committee, said the enforcement of new government policies on surrogacy—which was banned in October—would be a key part of anti-trafficking efforts.

“There were cases erupting that we had suspected could lead to human trafficking, but we have already cracked down” on them and will continue to monitor similar suspected cases in the future, she said.

Australian national Tammy Davis-Charles was arrested in November for running a surrogacy clinic alongside two Cambodian associates, in the only prosecution so far under the surrogacy ban. The three stand charged with fraudulently requesting documents and acting as liaisons between an adoptive parent and a pregnant woman. They are currently being held in provisional detention as they await their next hearing.

Women’s Affairs Ministry spokesman Phon Puthborey said on Tuesday that a draft law put forward by the ministry was being examined by the Justice Ministry and is expected to be completed by year’s end.

The trade of human organs was also highlighted during the meeting as a potentially rising crime, Ms. Bun Eng said. In May, two Phnom Penh residents allegedly confessed to trafficking at least 10 people to India for black-market kidney donations. The National Assembly passed a law regulating organ donations in light of the illegal trade last year.

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