Surrogate Babies Crossing Border a Concern, Ministry Says

Steps are needed to stop foreign parents from taking babies born to Cambodian surrogate mothers across the border without the required court orders and permissions, an Interior Ministry official said on Monday.

Chou Bun Eng, a secretary of state with the ministry and vice chair of the national committee to combat human trafficking, told those gathered at a meeting on trafficking that reports of babies leaving Cambodia via land borders on their way to other countries is “a concern for everyone involved.”

“The last couple months there were cases in which [surrogate] mothers took babies out via the border to Vietnam and did not bring the babies back when [they] returned into the country,” she said.

The Cambodia Daily reported earlier this month that foreign parents caught up in the aftermath of the government ban on commercial surrogacy in October had been looking for ways to get their newborn children out of Cambodia.

On Monday, Ms. Bun Eng said it was not known how many children had left the country this way, but there was a need “to review the implementation and restrictions to prevent this from continuously happening.”

Ms. Bun Eng made her comments at a meeting of the national committee to combat human trafficking, where, according to an article on the National Police website, attendees discussed the official exit guidelines for Cambodian surrogate babies to leave the country, which were publicly announced by the government last week.

A directive issued by the Council of Ministers laid out the steps that must be followed by parents, but provided no details on how applications are to be submitted.

According to the National Police website, the committee was meeting with concerned ministries “to discuss the preparation of procedures” of the departure strategy.

Ms. Bun Eng could not be reached on Monday for comment.

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