Woman Jailed for 15 Years Over Attempted Trafficking

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced a Cambodian woman to 15 years in prison on Friday for planning to sell five women into the sex trade in Malaysia.

Lach Socheata, 35, was arrested in February at Phnom Penh International Airport while awaiting a flight to Kuala Lumpur with five women under the age of 27, including a 16-year-old.

Presiding Judge Nou Veasna told the court on Friday that Ms. Socheata was guilty of human trafficking and fraud, sentencing her to 15 years in prison and fining her two million riel (about $500).

During her trial on July 2, Ms. Socheata denied the charges and said all five women asked her for help in finding jobs overseas, adding that she paid $1,500 to process documents and flight tickets for the five.

While being escorted out of the courtroom on Friday, Ms. Socheata, who said she was seven months pregnant, called the verdict unjust as she did not commit any crime, adding that she planned to file an appeal.

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