New laws being drafted in Cambodia on commercial surrogacy must not criminalize surrogate mothers, women’s rights campaigners said on Friday, after 11 women jailed for agreeing to carry a client’s baby were released from prison.
The Southeast Asian nation has seen an uptick in commercial surrogacy after the practice was banned in Thailand in 2015, and has since been scrambling to draft a law to stamp out the trade.
In the meantime, dozens of surrogates have been charged under human trafficking laws and face up to 20 years in prison – a scenario that must change under the new law, said Chak Sopheap, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).
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