Wed, 18 December 2013 James Hall and Phak Seangly
An NGO is working to free two Cambodian women forced into marriage in China, a representative of the organisation said yesterday. Huy Pichsovann, program officer at the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), said that the two women, aged 22 and 27, were enticed from their Kampong Cham homes in March to accept work in Shanghai.
Once they arrived, however, they were both forced into marriage. “A broker lured them to go to China, where they were told they would have a job with a high salary, but when they arrived, they were forcibly married to men they do not love,” Pichsovann said.
“One of the women is rarely allowed out of the house, while the other was forced to get a job but the husband keeps her salary.” The women’s families contacted CLEC in October seeking their help to ensure the girls are released safely.
The mother of one of the women said the offer from the broker had been too good to refuse, but now she is terrified for her daughter’s safety. “The broker said my daughter would get paid $1,000 a month, so she decided to go because the pay in Cambodia is so much less,” the mother said.
“My daughter is given only little bits of plain noodles and rice to live, while she struggles with the cold,” she said. CLEC have been in contact with police in Shanghai and have sent the case to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Police are now searching for the broker,” Pichsovann said.
Kuoy Kong, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Meanwhile, a man and three women appeared in court yesterday after being arrested last week on human trafficking charges. They are accused of ordering two Kratie-based women to pay them $1,600 each after the duo backed out of a plan to be married to Chinese nationals.
Deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Ek Chheng Houth, said he had charged the group and the case had been sent to another judge for further investigation. “They were officially charged by the court with producing fake documents, buying or selling a human being, human trafficking and sexual exploitation,” he said.
The four suspects and their lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA