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New BBC documentary features IJM’s work to stop forced scamming

“I hope the documentary will open people's eyes to what's going on. The horrific reality is that there is a hierarchy of victims involved.” – James Blake

Scamming is a growing issue in the UK. BBC Three’s ‘Hunting the Catfish Crime Gang’, featuring IJM’s work to stop the international crime of forced scamming, explores scamming from multiple angles and exposes how there’s more than one victim.

Watch the BBC documentary 'Hunting the Catfish Crime Gang' now >>

The documentary follows the true story of James Blake – a 30-year-old digital marketing entrepreneur from Northern Ireland who had his identity stolen by scammers pretending to be him on social media.

When James started getting messages from people accusing him of conning them out of tens of thousands of pounds, he set out on an international journey to discover who was using his identity.

This journey takes him to Bangkok where he meets IJM Thailand’s Andrew Wasuwongse, who introduces him to the dark crime of forced scamming.

James discovers that it’s not only those being scammed or having their identities stolen who are the victims here - many of those carrying out the scams are victims of trafficking and slavery.

“I would never have thought that these are potentially the people who are behind the fake profiles of me...Seeing the way they are being treated is absolutely horrendous.” – James Blake

Watch now >>

Forced scamming is one of the fastest growing forms of modern slavery. Traffickers are forcing victims in South East Asia to create fake social media accounts and scam people like you and me, under the threat of extreme violence.

It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are working in scamming compounds, many of whom have been trafficked and trapped against their will.

Young women and men like Gavesh*, whose story is featured in the documentary.

When he was trafficked to Myanmar, Gavesh was beaten and saw other workers tortured. “If they killed us, no one would know. I was desperate.” 

IJM is one of the first organisations in the world working with police to protect people from forced scamming.

So far, IJM has supported over 350 survivors of forced scamming like Gavesh. Today, Gavesh is safely home in South Asia with his family.

I met people who are doing incredible work and fighting constantly for people that are being neglected, trafficked and abused. Meeting those people gave me hope.” – James Blake

Watch ‘Hunting the Catfish Crime Gang’ now >>

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About Stories see more
Forced scamming: "I was scared for my life."

Gavesh* from South Asia, whose story is featured in the new BBC Three documentary 'Hunting the Catfish Crime Gang', shares in his own words how he was tricked, trafficked, trapped – and eventually found freedom.

28 survivors of forced scamming now home in Indonesia

28 survivors of forced scamming in Cambodia were repatriated to Indonesia earlier this month, with assistance from IJM, the Embassy of Indonesia, the Cambodian National Police and other organisations.

“I need to let the world know that this darkness happens every day.”

Jun Hao*, a survivor of forced scamming, knows how urgent it is to stop this crime. When Jun Hao left his home in Thailand for a promising job in Cambodia, he didn’t know he would end up fearing for his life.

Three traffickers convicted for forced scamming

Nine people from Indonesia – who IJM helped police bring to safety from forced online scamming in Cambodia – have just received justice.

You Can Help Send Rescue Today.

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You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.


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