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Hundreds of Indians rescued from cyber-scam factories in Cambodia

Hundreds of Indians rescued from cyber-scam factories in Cambodia

Hundreds of Indians rescued from cyber-scam factories in Cambodia

Hundreds of Indians rescued from cyber-scam factories in Cambodia

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  • The Indian government has rescued 250 citizens in Cambodia who were forced into online scams.
  • More than 5,000 Indians in Cambodia were compelled to operate cyber-fraud schemes.
  • Human traffickers in Southeast Asia prey on hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
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The Indian government rescued 250 citizens in Cambodia who were reportedly forced to run online scams. According to India’s foreign ministry, job offers were made to them, but they were instead coerced into undertaking illegal cyber work.

Recent reports reveal that human traffickers compelled more than 5,000 Indians stuck in Cambodia to operate cyber-fraud schemes. Human traffickers, running job scams in Southeast Asia, have preyed on hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.

Mostly young and tech-savvy, these victims were promised jobs and then lured into illegal online work ranging from money laundering and crypto fraud to so-called love scams, where they pose as lovers online.

A UN report, released in August 2023, states that traffickers forced at least 120,000 people in Myanmar and another 100,000 in Cambodia into operating cyber-fraud schemes.

In March, police freed hundreds of people from a scam center in the Philippines in the latest of a series of rescues of such victims in Southeast Asia. There, traffickers forced them to fool people by expressing romantic interest online under a fake identity.

A few weeks before that, China repatriated hundreds of its citizens from scam centers in Myanmar.

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Over the weekend, Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson of India’s foreign ministry, stated that the country was closely collaborating with Cambodian authorities to “crack down on those responsible for these fraudulent schemes”.

India reported rescuing 75 people in the past three months, while the timeline for the rest remains unclear.

Last week, the Indian Express newspaper revealed that India’s embassy in Phnom Penh had received 130 complaints from Indians being held in Cambodia against their will.

They were allegedly forced to scam people in India or, in some cases, extort money from them by pretending to be law enforcement officials, among thousands of others.

The victims in India lost a total of at least 5 billion rupees ($59 million; £47 million) in the past six months, according to the newspaper report.

In another report, the paper mentioned an official from India’s embassy in Cambodia stating that on average, four to five complaints come in every day from people trapped in Cambodia after being offered jobs.

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