The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced three women to between seven and nine years in prison for their roles in attempting to traffic another woman to China for marriage last year, court officials said.
Dul Chandy, 26, Boeun Soklin, 34, and her husband Chor Chhoam, 40, were arrested in January last year after their victim, Khoeun Am, 22, was sent back to Cambodia by Chinese authorities and, upon returning, filed a complaint against them.
“The court decided to sentence Dul Chandy and Boeun Soklin…to seven years in prison, charged with unlawful removal for cross-border transfer,” Presiding Judge Veng Hourt said on Thursday.
A third woman, Boeun Sreyna, 28—Ms. Soklin’s sister, who is married to a Chinese man and lives in China—was sentenced to nine years in absentia over her role, while the charges against Mr. Chhoam were dropped, the court having decided that his involvement was minimal.
During their trial earlier this month, Ms. Soklin and Ms. Chandy said they had been unaware that their actions constituted a crime.
Ms. Soklin said her sister had asked her if she knew of any Cambodian women who would want Chinese husbands of their own, and so put her sister in touch with Ms. Am, whom she had found through Ms. Chandy. Ms. Chandy admitted to helping make arrangements for Ms. Am and three other women.
In written testimony, Ms. Am said she had met Ms. Chandy at the Phnom Penh garment factory where they both worked and that the woman had come to her with the idea of moving to China for marriage as a way to make money, even offering to pay off her $300 debt if she agreed.
Duy Soksolida, a lawyer for Ms. Soklin and her husband, said she welcomed the release of Mr. Chhoam and would appeal his wife’s sentence if the couple consented.
“If we look into the facts, they did not commit these crimes,” Ms. Soksolida said of all three convicted women. “People do not know about the law, or that helping others to marry is a crime.”