Arrested Aussie mum knew surrogacy laws would be targeted by Cambodia government
By nine.com.au staff
Just days before she was thrown in a Cambodian jail, Australian Tammy Davis-Charles took to Facebook to voice her fears the Government would shut down the same surrogacy laws she was arrested for.
The 49-year-old nurse and fertility expert was arrested on November 20 along with two Cambodians during a raid on a rented house in Phnom Penh.
She was charged with being an intermediary in surrogacy and falsifying documents and faces up to two years in jail if convicted.
About two weeks before her arrest Ms Davis-Charles wrote on her Fertility Solutions PGD Facebook page there were "rumours" the Cambodian government was considering ending commercial surrogacy, The Daily Telegraph reports.
"The Government are reviewing laws. Honestly it could go either way," Ms Davis-Charles wrote on November 4.
"Please be warned do not sign up with anyone trying to push you through!!!!.
"As you will most likely be caught up in the end when the baby is born which becomes a nightmare."
However Ms Davis-Charles did not foresee getting caught up in her own nightmare.
The mother-of-six faces a potentially years-long wait before she goes to trial.
The Cambodian government outlawed surrogacy earlier this month, throwing about 80 Australian families into uncertainty about the babies they had already paid for.
Police Colonel Keo Thea, head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Office, said Ms Davis-Charles had moved to Cambodia from Thailand for more than a year, and alleged that she had arranged for some 23 Cambodian women to carry babies for Australian couples.
"Australian people who wanted kids would contact her and she would charge US$50,000 for each request," he said.
"Five babies have been born," he said, adding that a Cambodian girl received between $10,000 and $12,000 in each case.
However, despite the ban on commercial surrogacy Cambodia has offered amnesty to a small number of Australian families who have paid for surrogacy services.
The Cambodian government has decided to allow Australians who paid for babies via Ms Davis-Charles to collect their infants without fear of being arrested, the ABC reports.
The south-east Asian nation wants the Australians to fulfill their financial commitments to the Cambodian surrogate women, who are owed $13,500 each.
However, the government says the deal is limited to this set of 23 pregnancies arranged by Ms Davis-Charles and will not make exceptions in the future.