Cambodia: Poverty and demand from China prompt Cambodian women to become surrogate mothers

Author: Danielle Keeton-Olsen & Sineat Yon, Aljazeera, Published on: 14 December 2018

"Poverty and demand from China fuel illegal Cambodia surrogacy", 13 December 2018

Commercial surrogacy was banned …, but trade has continued as government discusses formal legislation. Shortly before 24-year-old Lee left for China, her parents borrowed $300 from a lender … to buy a suitcase for their pregnant daughter and clothes for the baby she was expecting…

But days before Lee's flight …, she was arrested in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. She was one of 32 pregnant women held for surrogacy, …

"I felt sorry for her," Poch said recalling what happened. "And [I] worried about her."

Surrogacy was banned in Cambodia in 2016, but with formal legislation still under discussion, demand from Chinese...

"It's not only the rights of the women we're concerned about, it's the rights of [the] baby," said Chou Bun Eng, vice chair of Cambodia's National Anti-Human Trafficking Committee. "..."

Many surrogates come from poor families, where work in the garment and light manufacturing industries brings in a minimum wage of $170 a month.

… Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said representatives reported surrogate recruitment within the provinces…

The demand for the trade is largely coming from China where commercial surrogacy is banned and …

Discussions on new legislation have been going on in Cambodia since early 2017. The law was reportedly finalised … but was postponed … for further study.

Chou, of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, said the new legislation would aim to govern all elements of the industry, including (IVF), sperm banks and the banned breast milk trade, …

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