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Cambodia scams: Lured and trapped into slavery in South East Asia

September 21, 2022 Cambodia Crime & Legal

It was an offer he could not resist: an easy job overseas, a sizeable salary, and even a chance to live in a swanky hotel with his own personal trainer.

When Yang Weibin saw the ad for a telesales role in Cambodia, he immediately said yes. The 35-year-old Taiwanese wasn’t making much as a masseur, and he needed to support his parents after his dad suffered a stroke.

Weeks later, Weibin hopped on a plane to Phnom Penh. When he reached the Cambodian capital, he was met by several men who drove him to a nondescript building on a deserted road – not quite the luxury hotel shown in pictures sent by the recruitment agent.

His passport was taken from him – to sort out his paperwork, he was told. He was shown to a small bare room – his new home. And one more thing, the men said: you can’t leave the compound, ever.

The penny dropped. “I knew then I had come to the wrong place, that this was a very dangerous situation,” he told the BBC.

Weibin is among thousands of workers who in recent months have fallen prey to human traffickers running job scams in South East Asia. Governments across a vast swathe of Asia – including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan – have sounded the alarm.

Lured by ads promising easy work and extravagant perks, many are tricked into travelling to Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. Once they arrive, they are held prisoner and forced to work in online scam centres known as “fraud factories”.

Human trafficking has long been an endemic problem in South East Asia. But experts say criminal networks are now looking further afield and preying on a different type of victim.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62792875
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