Some Cambodian mothers have been selling their breast milk to women in the US, in a controversial practice that has now been banned.
But the case has raised questions about whether these women have been exploited, or empowered, by this enterprise.
For the past two years, dozens of women have been supplying their excess breast milk to a company called Ambrosia Labs.
The company has been processing and selling the milk in the US. It was marketed at US mothers who have problems producing milk for their babies.
On Tuesday, Cambodia imposed an immediate ban on breast milk exports, effectively ending the business.
It is unclear why it has acted now, although this follows recent bans on other controversial practices such as organ trafficking and surrogacy. Health officials said earlier they were investigating as “the product comes from a human organ”.
Several countries run milk banks, where women can donate milk to needy babies. Breast milk is also sold via websites and private networks, and is a thriving niche industry despite some countries’ restrictions.
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