32 sur­ro­gate moms on traf­fick­ing charges re­leased


FIVE US marines were miss­ing af­ter two Marine Corps air­craft col­lided in mid-air and crashed into the sea off the coast of Japan dur­ing an air-to-air re­fu­elling ex­er­cise yes­ter­day, Ja­panese and Amer­i­can of­fi­cials said.

Japan’s de­fence min­istry said its mar­itime forces had found two of the seven Marines who were aboard the air­craft – an F/A-18 Hor­net fighter jet and a KC-130 Her­cules – at the time of the in­ci­dent.

One was in a sta­ble con­di­tion at a Marine Corps Air Sta­tion, the se­cond was found 10 hours af­ter the crash and brought aboard a Ja­panese mil­i­tary ves­sel. | Reuters AT LEAST two peo­ple died in flood­ing in north­ern Cyprus yes­ter­day, as hail and rain ham­mered the is­land.

Turk­ish Cypriot me­dia said the vic­tims’ car had been swept away dur­ing a del­uge late on Wed­nes­day.

Cyprus res­i­dents have re­ported vir­tu­ally un­in­ter­rupted rain since early on Tues­day, with some say­ing it was the heav­i­est in mem­ory.

Flash flood­ing from an iso­lated down­pour is not un­com­mon in Cyprus, but sus­tained floods are rare. Fur­ther bad weather is ex­pected.

So­cial me­dia im­ages showed cars swept away into the sea. | Reuters CAM­BO­DIA has re­leased 32 women who were de­tained while preg­nant on charges of hu­man traf­fick­ing for act­ing as sur­ro­gate moth­ers for Chi­nese cou­ples, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

The women, de­tained in July, were freed on bail this week af­ter promis­ing to raise the chil­dren them­selves, said Chou Bun Eng, sec­re­tary of state for the Min­istry of In­te­rior.

“We re­quested (the court) to re­lease them on pro­ba­tion un­der watch,” she said.

Po­lice have said each woman was promised $10 000 (R141 000) for car­ry­ing a baby for Chi­nese clients.

“We do not know yet who are the peo­ple who wanted the ba­bies,” said Chou Bun Eng, adding the moth­ers be­came at­tached to the in­fants dur­ing their preg­nan­cies and wanted to keep them.

“All have a com­mit­ment, be­cause of love for the child de­vel­oped in their wombs,” she said.

The women were dis­cov­ered in po­lice raids at two flats in the cap­i­tal, Phnom Penh, in June. They were charged in July with cross-bor­der hu­man traf­fick­ing. Five other Cam­bo­di­ans and one a Chi­nese na­tional were also charged for in­volve­ment in the sur­ro­gacy ring, po­lice said.

Mem­bers of the Agape In­ter­na­tional Mis­sions (AIM), a Chris­tian anti-hu­man traf­fick­ing char­ity, ac­com­pa­nied po­lice on the raid, AIM said.

The women were ini­tially pro­vided ac­com­mo­da­tion by AIM and given meals, med­i­cal care and coun­selling, the group said.

AIM said it con­tin­ued to pro­vide as­sis­tance af­ter the women were ar­rested and trans­ferred to a po­lice hospi­tal.

“We be­lieve that with the nec­es­sary equip­ping and sup­port, these 32 fam­i­lies will be­come mod­els of lov­ing Chris­tian fam­i­lies pos­i­tively im­pact­ing the com­mu­ni­ties in which they live,” the group said.

Cam­bo­dia is 97% Bud­dhist, with Chris­tians ac­count­ing for less than 1% of the pop­u­la­tion.

An AIM staff mem­ber said the char­ity con­tin­ued to pro­vide as­sis­tance to the women, but de­clined to com­ment fur­ther. Cam­bo­dia was a pop­u­lar in­ter­na­tional desti­na­tion for cou­ples look­ing to have ba­bies through com­mer­cial sur­ro­gacy but the prac­tice was made il­le­gal in 2016.

Since then, Cam­bo­dia has been crack­ing down on sur­ro­gacy.

In 2017, an Aus­tralian nurse and two Cam­bo­dian as­sis­tants were found guilty of run­ning an il­le­gal com­mer­cial sur­ro­gacy clinic.

The nurse was re­leased ear­lier this year, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia re­ports.

Neigh­bour­ing Thai­land has also banned sur­ro­gacy and much of the busi­ness has shifted to Laos, where dozens of fer­til­ity clin­ics have ap­peared dur­ing the past few years. | Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.