Woman Gets Seven Years for Trafficking Virgins

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday sentenced a woman to sev­en years in prison after convicting her of trafficking two Cambo­dian virgins to an unidentified US na­tional.

Presiding Judge Iv Kimsry con­vict­ed Chum Sreypov of selling a 20-year-old woman and a 23-year-old wo­man, whose names were with­held, after Deputy Prosecutor Ngeth Sarath said she had made a deal with the American to sell the two for $1,000. Chum Sreypov de­nied the charges. The sentence for the Oct 8 incident was handed down despite one of the allegedly trafficked wo­men having testified in court that Chum Srey­­pov had not tried to sell her, and the woman’s father having said he had not filed a lawsuit against the de­f­endant.

In court, defense lawyer Nou Chan­­tha called Chum Sreypov’s ar­rest a “trick,” accusing police of colluding with the faith-based NGO In­ter­national Justice Mission to stage what would look like a traf­fick­ing situation in order to entrap and arrest Chum Sreypov.

Nou Chantha told the court that Chum Sreypov and the unidentified Amer­ican met for lunch at a Cham­kar Mon district restaurant, along with a translator and driver.

Chum Sreypov said she was arrested just before getting into a car with the three men, none of whom testified or were named. The uni­den­tified American man who al­legedly attempted to purchase the women’s virginity was also not ar­rested, he said.

“There are holes in this case,” Nou Chantha told the court. “There is no testimony from the US national, driver or translator.”

Outside the courtroom, Ngeth Sarath conceded that there were problems with the trial, but asked: “What can I do when the judge decided to convict her already?”

An IJM representative who de­clined to be named said the NGO did not fabricate the case against Chum Sreypov, though he added that the NGO assisted the police in the investigation. The representative said he knew nothing about the US man, driver or translator. Police from the Interior Min­istry’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Pro­­tection Department were res­ponsible for investigating and arresting Chum Sreypov, he added.




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