Australian charged with violating Cambodia's surrogacy ban

AP News
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Posted: Nov 21, 2016 6:49 AM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A court in Cambodia has charged an Australian woman and two Cambodians with violating the country's new ban on providing commercial surrogacy services.

Keo Thea, chief of Cambodia's anti-human trafficking bureau, said Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, was too ill to come to court Monday and was charged in absentia. She and two Cambodian associates were detained Friday. The charges against them concern falsifying documents and human trafficking, making them liable for up to two years in prison.

Keo Thea said Davis-Charles ran a company that paid poor Cambodians for surrogate pregnancies.

The Health Ministry issued the ban in October, but there is not yet a criminal penalty for the practice. Cambodia became a popular destination for persons seeking surrogate mothers after India and Thailand in 2015 banned surrogate services for foreigners.