A Cambodian woman accused of brokering marriages between local women and men in China on Wednesday admitted to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court that she had facilitated such matches, but said her actions did not amount to trafficking.
Thim Lida, 27, also known as Chhun Lida, is facing charges of human trafficking along with Chinese nationals Li Xiging, 32, and Wang Houguo, 49, and Cambodians Sok Khim, 59, and Duoy Sam Oun, 57.
All five were arrested during a police raid on Ms. Lida’s Tuol Kok district rental home, where seven women were found, including two 16-year-olds, who police believed were bound for China.
“Their parents…wanted their children to marry Chinese and go to China, and they asked me to help by translating because I understand Chinese.
And they know that their neighbors have two children who are moderately rich after they married Chinese,” Ms. Lida said of two alleged victims present in court.
Ms. Lida said she had previously introduced two Cambodian women to Chinese men, and was given $200 for translating during their wedding ceremony.
On the day of her arrest, she added, the two Chinese suspects in the case—who were not in court Wednesday because prison guards had forgotten to bring them to the hearing—were at her home to select a wife for one of them.
The trial will resume on February 6.