A woman believed to have trafficked about 30 women to China to work or be sold as brides was caught and arrested on Tuesday evening, July 5, at a Phnom Penh guesthouse, Cambodia with six potential victims, including two minors.
Thoeun Puthea, 28, was in a room at Dara Guesthouse in Prampi Makara district when police stopped her and six young women who were set to be sent to China by way of Vietnam, according to Keo Thea, director of the municipal anti-human trafficking police. Two of the victims were 17 years old, one was 19, and the rest were in their 20s, an official said.
“The victims said that she was a broker and she also admitted to it,” Mr. Thea said on Wednesday. “The brokers and the victims have a network in the provinces. They…gathered in the provinces and then came to Phnom Penh together to depart to Vietnam before going to China.” He declined to say how police had located Ms. Puthea, saying that revealing their methods would allow future traffickers to escape capture. According to Mr. Thea, however, police have been investigating Ms. Puthea for months on suspicion that she was trafficking women to China, but had lacked the evidence needed to arrest her until recently.
“We saw her bringing victims to have passports made and their newly made passports when they departed to China on three to four past occasions, he said, estimating that about 30 women had been trafficked.
Ms. Puthea was being held at anti-human trafficking police headquarters in Phnom Penh on Wednesday and was to be sent to court for questioning today. The crimes of recruiting, selling or transporting trafficking victims all carry seven- to 15-year jail sentences, which increase to 15 to 20 years when the victims are minors. Source: TCD