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Australian nurse and 2 local assistants jailed in Cambodia for illegal surrogacy

Australian nurse and 2 local assistants jailed in Cambodia for illegal surrogacy

Tammy Davis-Charles was arrested in Phnom Penh in November a year ago, shortly after the Cambodian government had banned commercial surrogacy.

An Australian nurse has been jailed for 18 months in Cambodia for providing commercial surrogacy services.

Cambodia banned commercial surrogacy in November 2016, describing it as a form of human trading.

Cambodia banned commercial surrogacy previous year after becoming a popular destination for would-be parents seeking women to give birth to their children.

Davis-Charles and the two Cambodians were also charged with falsifying documents.

Davis-Charles, who was wearing an orange prison uniform, was teary-eyed when the guilty verdict and sentence were handed down. All three are sentenced to 18 months in prison.

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During her trial the 49-year-old denied the charges and said she only provided medical care to the surrogates.

Davis-Charles claimed to have assisted 23 Cambodian surrogates in her capacity as a nurse, paid them and signed their contracts with intended parents as a witness. Phnom Penh Post reports that parents desperate for their own biological children pay around US$50,000 (AU$63,000) for the process; the US$10,000 (AU$12,600) normally go to the surrogate mothers.

In the wake of Davis-Charles' arrest, Cambodian authorities declared an amnesty for babies already born.

Exiting the courtroom this morning, Ms. Davis-Charles declined to comment before walking into her holding cell, where she put on sunglasses and could be seen crying and trying to shield her face.

She said she did not know commercial surrogacy was illegal. The Cambodian defendants were fined 2 million riels each. Eighteen of the children carried by the surrogates were for Australian parents. It became an global destination for couples, who are wanting to have babies through surrogacy.


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