Australian Nurse Jailed For Illegal Cambodian Surrogacy

Australian Nurse Jailed For Illegal Cambodian Surrogacy

They were arrested in November, just weeks after the government banned the previously unregulated surrogacy industry, which had moved to Cambodia after being outlawed in other Asian countries, including Thailand and Nepal.

Passing sentence in Phnom Penh Municipal Court today, Judge Suor Linna said the three could appeal.

It also fined them 2,000 US dollars in total.

An Australian nurse has been given an 18-month sentence in Cambodia for her involvement in surrogacy practice.

Davis-Charles worked on behalf of Families Through Surrogacy, an Australian-based non-profit organization that links surrogates with would-be parents.

"She has been involved in the process of paperwork from the beginning until the day the surrogate babies were taken out the country, with the aim of making profit".

Earlier reports said Davis-Charles operated a clinic that matched foreign couples with Cambodian surrogate mothers.

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But her pleas for mercy because she has "lost everything" and contracted cancer in prison fell on deaf ears. In court, however, she claimed that she was not looking for parents but only cared for mothers, "to be safe".

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

The surrogates were paid $10,000 for each pregnancy, she has said.

The verdict and sentence is a blow for Ms Davis-Charles' family who past year launched a campaign with a hashtag #freetammydavis.

Davis-Charles' lawyer, Chheang Sophoan, asked the judge to drop charges against her, saying the evidence was unclear. The Cambodian defendants were fined two million riel each.

Prospective parents paid up to $50,000 to conceive a child through surrogacy, she told the court, for which she received $8,000 for her consultancy services. It became an global destination for couples, who are wanting to have babies through surrogacy.

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