Women Get Seven-Year Sentence for Trafficking

Six women who were part of a network that trafficked women to China after promising them jobs in Singapore were sentenced to seven years in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday.

Presiding Judge Svay Tonh handed down the sentences—the minimum under Article 16 of the human trafficking law—following a trial during which lawyers for the defendants appealed for leniency on the grounds that their clients were uneducated.

“The court decided to sentence Hong Vy, aka Hong Chea, 38, to seven years in prison; Pouy Samon, 44, to seven years in prison; Kirt Phuon, 54, to seven years; Ul Yorm, aka Dy, 40, to seven years in prison,” Judge Tonh announced.

Pouy Savon, 33, and Yang Samean, 26, were sentenced in absentia and remain at large.

The six defendants were part of a network that sourced women from rural villages in their home provinces and lured them to China with the promise of jobs in Singapore paying up to $1,000 per month.

Of the four in court Tuesday, three have confessed to being involved in the scheme, while

Ms. Yorm has maintained her innocence.

After the verdict was issued, Mon Vimean Champa, a lawyer for Ms. Vy, Ms. Phuon and Ms. Samon, said she would appeal the “harsh” sentences.

“My clients did not know doing this was against the law, and everything was done with the agreement of the victims and without any use of force,” she said.

Beijing’s one-child policy and a preference for boys has created a major gender imbalance in China, a demand for foreign wives and a market for trafficked women. Cambodian women trafficked to China have reported being sold into sexual or domestic slavery for thousands of dollars.

During her trial last month, Ms. Vy said she received a $50 commission for each woman she recruited and was paid by Ms. Yorm, whom police identified as one of the trafficking network’s ringleaders.

Ms. Samon said at the time that her daughter and younger sister had gone to China to start

families—along with many other women from her community.

“My homeland has become very quiet because many people went,” she said.

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