KHMER Times reports that at the end of September, approximately 27 Filipino nationals were rescued from a cryptocurrency scam, a form of cyber slavery, in Cambodia. The scam was masterminded by three Chinese and one Malaysian and is part of a growing human trafficking issue connected to online scamming broadly, or pig butchering.
Pig butchering and cyber-slavery on the rise
Chinese gangsters based in Cambodia or Myanmar are often key players in part of a growing modern slavery challenge, cyber slavery. Young people from across Southeast Asia are being lured in increasing numbers by the promise of a well-paying job to go abroad. But once they arrive to start their new job, they are held captive and forced into online spamming activities, as with the recent Filipino victims.
While officials in Cambodia have been working hard to crackdown on this type of crime, there is still a lot to be done. As in this case, the crime often includes citizens of multiple countries.
Chou Bun Eng, Permanent Vice-Chairwoman of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking in persons (NCCT) said:
“This kind of crime is not only happening in Cambodia but in neighboring countries, as well. This requires cooperation with our neighbors to effectively tackle this crime,” said Bun Eng.
Thousands have been tricked in the same way the 27 Filipino victims were. According to Bloomberg, entire office complexes in remote locations have been discovered, filled with floor after floor of cyber-slavery victims working 24 hours a day. These victims are forced under threat of torture or death to send spam messages to unsuspecting victims in wealthy countries.