Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women who were carrying babies on behalf of Chinese clients have been discovered during a raid on an illegal commercial surrogacy operation, police said yesterday.
Five people, including a Chinese manager, were arrested following raids at two apartments in Phnom Penh, police said.
Cambodia had been a popular international destination for infertile couples looking to have babies through commercial surrogacy even though it was made illegal in 2016.
Five people, including four Cambodian women and the male Chinese manager, were detained after a police raid on Thursday, said Keo Thea, director of Phnom Penh’s anti-trafficking office.
“Our authorities have charged them with human trafficking and being intermediaries in surrogacy,” Keo Thea said.
The pregnant women do not face charges at the moment, he said.
“They are carrying babies for Chinese nationals,” he said, adding that each woman was promised US$10,000 for their service.
Once a woman becomes pregnant she receives US$500. When the baby is delivered she is paid US$300 a month until the full US$10,000 is paid off, Keo Thea said.
The surrogacy operation had already provided about 20 babies to clients in China, he said.
“Some were born in China and some were born in Cambodia,” Keo Thea said.
Clinics based in Asia are increasingly eyeing China, where health officials estimate that 90 million couples have become eligible to have a second child after the decades-old one-child policy was relaxed in 2015.
There are no official estimates of the number of Chinese babies delivered by surrogates, but media have said it exceeds 10,000 every year.
Thailand and India have blocked foreigners from using commercial surrogacy services following a series of cases that raised concern about exploitation.
Thailand banned the practice in 2015 and subsequently several Thai clinics moved into Cambodia until commercial surrogacy was banned there the following year.
SECONDARY OBJECTIVE: One of the researchers said the discovery would not lead to a ‘complete solution’ and that plastic should not be released into the environment A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down, but uses it as food to power the process. The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. Millions of tonnes of the plastic are produced every year to use in items such as sports shoes, diapers, kitchen sponges and as foam insulation, but it is mostly sent to landfills, because it is too tough to recycle. When broken down it can release toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, which
Tokyo and the Osaka area in western Japan hunkered down yesterday as officials urged people to stay indoors to prevent a potential emergency, but some were carrying on as normal. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s plea for the tens of millions of people in the capital and surrounding regions to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings until April 12, and particularly this weekend, followed a surge in coronavirus infections this week that she said put Tokyo on the brink of an emergency. Koike urged people to avoid the national pastime of congregating to drink and watch cherry blossoms as they hit their peak in the
IN CUSTODY: The alleged ringleader allegedly forced victims to carve ‘slave’ into their bodies and send him degrading images that were shared with scores of others A sexual blackmail ring that operated on the app Telegram and targeted dozens of women, including underage girls, has rocked South Korea and triggered demands for authorities to crack down on the rising number of sexual offences online. Police yesterday took the unusual step of naming the man who allegedly ran an online network that lured at least 58 women and 16 girls into what authorities called “virtual enslavement” by blackmailing them into sending degrading and, in some cases, violent sexual images of themselves. Cho Ju-bin faces charges of violating the Child Protection Act, the Privacy Act and the Sexual Abuse Act,
LEGISLATION PRAISED: The southern jet stream wind system appears to have stopped moving southward and might be moving back to normal, scientists said International cooperation on ozone-depleting chemicals is helping to return the southern jet stream to a normal state after decades of disruption, a study shows. Scientists say the findings prove that there is the capacity to heal damaged climate systems if governments act promptly and in coordination to deal with the causes. The southern jet stream is a powerful wind that shapes weather patterns and ocean currents in the southern hemisphere, particularly in the summer. Up until about 2000, it had been shifting from its usual course and moving southward at a rate of 1° of latitude each decade, affecting storm tracks and rainfall