Aussie gets jail over surrogacy clinic
PHNOM PENH: An Australian nurse who managed a surrogacy clinic in Cambodia that matched foreign couples with local women was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday, as authorities in the kingdom tackle the “rent-a-womb” businesses.
Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, has been in custody since her arrest in November, weeks after Cambodia abruptly banned commercial surrogacy.
Authorities moved to shut down the trade, which critics say exploits poor women, after a similar ban in Thailand pushed the industry across its borders.
Davis-Charles is accused of moving from Thailand to take advantage of the surrogacy boom in Cambodia, which lacked regulations at the time and quickly mopped up demand from foreign couples, mostly from Australia.
Police said her clinic charged would-be parents up to US$50,000 (RM214,000), while Cambodian surrogates received around US$10,000 each.
Davis-Charles, who advertised surrogacy services online, was accused of bringing more than 23 Cambodian women into the trade for 18 Australian and five American couples.
“Tammy Davis-Charles was an intermediary between intended parents and Cambodian surrogate mothers,” Judge Sor Lina said when delivering the ruling.
Davis-Charles was also convicted of falsifying documents.
“The court sentences Tammy Davis-Charles to 1½ years jail,” the judge added.
Two Cambodian colleagues were convicted of the same charges and also jailed 18 months. AFP
Tammy Davis-Charles sitting inside a police vehicle in Phnom Penh recently. She has been sentenced to jail for running a ‘rent-a-womb’ business.