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    Cambodia surrogate mothers freed after vowing to keep babies

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Thirty-two Cambodian women who were charged with human trafficking for serving as surrogate mothers have been provisionally released from detention after agreeing to keep the babies rather than giving them up as originally planned, officials said Wednesday.

    Bun Samkhan, a spokeswoman for the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking, said the women, who were charged in July with violating surrogacy and human trafficking laws, were released on bail in three groups.

    A senior police officer who works at the same agency, speaking on condition of
    anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly, said the women were released on humanitarian grounds.

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    Acting as an intermediary between an adoptive parent and a pregnant woman carries a penalty of one to six months in prison. The human trafficking offense is punishable by seven to 15 years in prison.

    associated press