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Forced scamming: stopping new forms of trafficking

A new, shocking form of trafficking has emerged in South East Asia, in what the Guardian has called a 'cybercrime crisis'.

Right now, people are being deceived by false job offers and forced to conduct scams online for up to 20 hours a day, trapped in heavily guarded compounds.

Ali*, a 33-year-old university graduate from Pakistan, was forced to scam five people daily and entice them to join cryptocurrency investment schemes or deposit money into gaming accounts.

“I tried to call and send an email to our embassy to report our whereabouts. I was not successful. The manager broke my phone, and I was physically beaten,” Ali explains.

After spending five months trapped in a secured building, Ali and six other workers were brought to safety by IJM and police.

IJM provided Ali and other survivors with food, basic necessities, and repatriation support.

“Going out from the compound was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – it was the best thing that happened to me,” said Ali.

Over the last 18 months, IJM has collaborated with Cambodian National Police and partners to bring more than 100 migrant workers like Ali to safety from forced scamming.

We’ll continue responding to this emerging crime.

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