Tammy Alayne Charles, 49, who operated Fertility Solutions PGD clinic, and two Cambodian helpers – a 35-year-old Cambodian female-nurse and 28-year-old male civil servant – were arrested on Friday evening in Phnom Penh, said Colonel Keo Thea, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police.
“The Australian nurse has run the surrogacy service in Cambodia for more than a year, moving from Thailand after the Thai government imposed anti-surrogacy laws last year,” he told Xinhua.
“She has confessed to running this business and contacted foreign couples seeking to have a child through surrogacy.”
According to Keo Thea, Tammy has arranged for 23 Cambodian women to bear pregnancies through the clinic, and so far, about six babies have been born.
He said that Tammy and the Cambodian accomplices are facing the charges of engaging in surrogacy business and falsifying documents, including birth certificates.
“Under the kingdom’s penal code, they could face between six months and two years if convicted,” he said.
During the raid on their rented house in the western suburbs of Phnom Penh, police seized two passports, money, two mobile phones, a computer and documents.
The arrest was made nearly a month after Cambodia’s Health Ministry announced a ban on commercial surrogacy in the country, describing surrogacy as a form of human “trading.”
Experts believe that about 50 surrogacy agencies and brokers are operating in Cambodia, many of which moved their businesses here after countries in Asia, including Thailand, India and Nepal, have outlawed the surrogacy business. Enditem