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Jailed Aus nurse loses appeal in Cambodia surrogacy case

AFP  |  Phnom Penh 

An Australian jailed for 18 months for running a clinic in had her sentence upheld yesterday in a prominent case highlighting the country's role in the lucrative trade.

Tammy Davis-Charles, a in her early 50s from Melbourne, was arrested in November 2016 with two Cambodian colleagues weeks after the country passed an edict forbidding commercial

She was convicted of sourcing clients and falsifying documents, although she said in her trial that she simply provided medical care to the Cambodian mothers.

Appeal Judge upheld the verdict during a brief hearing in Phnom Penh, saying the had "already given a lenient sentence".

Dressed in a blue prisoner uniform, Davis-Charles did not react to the ruling or speak to reporters afterwards. She has a final chance to appeal the sentence in front of the Supreme

Cambodian authorities moved to curb the trade after prospective parents - many from - turned to the impoverished country in the wake of bans in and

Critics of the practice say it leaves women with few economic choices open to exploitation.

Police said Davis-Charles moved from to take advantage of the continued demand after several scandals in the neighboring country prompted a government crackdown.

More than 20 Cambodian surrogate mothers were paired with clients in the Davis-Charles clinic, and they received around USD 10,000 each.

The nurse's two Cambodian colleagues were convicted of the same charges and also jailed for 18 months.

With cheap medical costs, a large pool of poor young women and no laws excluding gay couples or single parents, countries in were for years attractive destinations for the surrogacy trade.

defended its decision by saying it did not want the country to become a "factory" for making babies.

has emerged as the next frontier in the "rent-a- womb" business, which still exists through shadowy unregulated networks in and other countries.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 12:05 IST