Aussie gets jail over sur­ro­gacy clinic

New Straits Times - - World -

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

PIC EPA

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.

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