Woman Arrested Over Alleged Ties to Human Trafficking Ring

A woman was arrested and sent to Kompong Cham Provincial Prison on human trafficking charges over the weekend after police linked her to an international trafficking ring that was busted by Vietnamese police earlier this month, a police official said.

Vietnamese police rescued three Cambodian women between the ages of 20 and 23 on August 13 as they arrested two suspected human traffickers in Vietnam, according to Min Sovisal, chief of the provincial police’s anti-human trafficking bureau.

Upon being returned to Cambodian authorities, the victims identified Neang Cheang Lon, 52, as the person responsible for sending them to Vietnam, Mr. Sovisal said.

“The leaders lied to the victims, saying they would send them to work in South Korea, but they did not [send them]. They planned to sell them to ringleaders in China,” he said.

“[Ms. Cheang Lon] convinced the victims that she would send them to Korea with [jobs paying] $1,100 per month,” he said. “The victims agreed to go there because their families were poor and they wanted higher salaries.”

Mr. Sovisal said the three women filed a complaint on August 14 with the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, which on Saturday arrested Ms. Cheang Lon, who worked at a health center in Kompong Cham.

According to the provincial court’s order for the suspect’s detention, issued on Sunday, Ms. Cheang Lon was charged with unlawful removal with purpose under the human trafficking law, a crime punishable by 15 to 20 years in prison.

Police are continuing to search for another suspected member of the trafficking ring, according to Mr. Sovisal.

“The ringleaders are working in a group because they have a network in Cambodia, Vietnam and China,” he said. “We are looking for one more Khmer ringleader in Phnom Penh.”

Mr. Sovisal said Cambodian and Vietnamese police were also searching for more victims.

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