Cambodia’s hidden cyber slavery horrors

Cambodia’s hidden cyber slavery horrors

Cambodia’s hidden cyber slavery horrors

An industrial park in rural Cambodia is surrounded by a 10-foot-high concrete wall that is lined with barbed wire. According to a recent article by Radio Free Asia (RFA), the wall hides a massive center for forced labor cyber slavery. Locals from the surrounding village say inside are trafficked Vietnamese, Malaysian and Chinese nationals who are forced to carry out cyber scams, amongst other crimes, under threats of violence and torture.

Dormitories designed to keep people in

Inside the walled-off 15-acre sprawl stands 18 large dormitory-like buildings with metal bars on the windows. RFA says the buildings are owned by Golden Fortune which is connected to Prince Group, one of Cambodia’s “hottest conglomerates.” Inside these buildings cyber-scams, prostitution, pornography and extortion have been taking place, involving victims of forced labor and cyber slavery. Victims are mostly locked inside with little contact from the outside world. Barring escape, they are only released from the compound if their families can pull together the ransom demanded by the traffickers.

According to one staff member interviewed:

“If ransom was not provided as demanded, mistreatment, beating and electrocution would be used and video clips [about the torture] are sent to the family to see.”

Inside the buildings, criminal gangs force trafficked workers to perform a type of cyber fraud, called “pig butchering” in which scammers convince victims to invest money in phony investment schemes. However, an increasing number of reports are finding that those performing the scams are often being held against their will and forced to scam. In Cambodia alone, the U.N. estimates approximately 100,000 people are victims of cyber slavery. In addition to the cyber slavery, at the Golden Fortune compound a former security guard stated that female workers are often forced into prostitution and pornography. Workers who don’t meet their quotas or follow orders are violently punished.

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