Following a surrogacy ban by the Cambodian Health Minister (see Cambodia bans surrogacy, following in the footsteps of India and Thailand), the Minister of the Interior has announced a “surrogacy amnesty” up to the deadline on 8 January 2018. Surrogate mothers who deliver babies before this date and hand them over to the intended parents will not be prosecuted.
From now onwards, any woman practising surrogacy will face criminal proceedings. Indeed, under Cambodian law, the woman who gives birth to a child is that child’s mother. To abandon a child is deemed a breach of the mother’s responsibility, especially if she is involved in selling her own child. According to the law, “an individual who sells, purchases or trades another person will face a prison sentence ranging from two to five years“. The sentence can be extended for up to 15 years if the person is “sold for adoption” or “for up to 20 years if the victim is a minor“.
Nevertheless, despite being illegal, surrogacy is still practised. Most of Cambodia’s current surrogate mothers do not understand the law and the risks to which they are exposed.
The Phnom Penh Post, Yon Sineat, Kong Meta and Erin Handley (10/01/2018)