A young couple has confessed to trafficking Cambodian women to be sold to men in China after they were arrested at the Phnom Penh International Airport Tuesday night while preparing to board a flight to Shanghai with their two latest victims, police said.
Keo Thea, chief of Phnom Penh’s anti-human trafficking police, said that when questioned, To Ma, 25, and his wife Nay Theavy, 24, confessed to having trafficked one woman to China previously, though police believe the pair is responsible for sending at least four women to China under false pretenses.
“The suspects told us that in China there is a group of Cambodians and Chinese who paid them $10,000 to organize everything [passports, visas, flights] in order to bring the two victims to China,” Mr. Thea said, adding that the group in China had been identified and that he would appeal to Interpol for assistance in arresting its members.
The two victims, aged 22 and 24, from Kompong Cham and Kandal provinces, respectively, believed they were going to find a better life and a loving husband in China, Mr. Thea said. However, he said they were instead set to be sold into situations that, according to many returned victims, amount to sexual and domestic slavery.
“They confessed that they planned to send the women to China to be sold to anyone who wants to marry them,” Mr. Thea said, adding that the couple would face the municipal court today.
Separately, five Cambodian women who were sold to and abused by men in China’s Jiangsu province will be repatriated tonight, according to a statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Chum Sounry, spokesman for the ministry, said that in the first seven months of the year, 50 Cambodian women had been rescued from abusive men in China, compared to 50 in all of 2014.
(Additional reporting by Matt Blomberg and Kang Sothear)
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