HomeLatest UpdatesIndia says it has rescued 250 citizens from Cambodian cyber slavery

India says it has rescued 250 citizens from Cambodian cyber slavery


The Indian government says it has rescued 250 citizens from Cambodia, where they were enticed by job opportunities and then forced to carry out cyber fraud.

On Saturday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs responded to local media reports about Indians trapped in Cambodia, saying they are closely collaborating with Cambodian authorities to rescue them. According to the statement, 75 of the 250 rescued nationals in Cambodia have been repatriated in the last three months.

“We remain committed to helping all those Indian nationals in Cambodia who seek our support,” said Shri Randhir Jaiswal, the ministry’s spokesperson. “We are also working with Cambodian authorities and with agencies in India to crack down on those responsible for these fraudulent schemes.”

The Indian government and its embassy in Cambodia have also issued several advisories informing Indian nationals about such scams, the spokesperson added.

Workers from throughout Asia, and across the globe, have been lured into scam compounds run by crime syndicates in Southeast Asia with fake job offers promising good salaries. Upon arrival, they have found themselves forced to carry out cyber fraud, including pig butchering scams — where fraudsters build relationships with people online and coerce them into making shoddy investments. 

An Indian Express article last week citing anonymous sources said the workers were extorting Indians back home by posing as law enforcement officials. The outlet reported that over 5,000 Indians are allegedly being held against their will in Cambodia by fraudsters. 

An Indian official responsible for handling consular matters and providing services to India’s diaspora community in Cambodia told Indian Express last week that they are receiving complaints “regularly from different parts of Cambodia.”

Upon receiving the complaint, the Indian Embassy informs the local police, guides trapped Indians on how to travel to the embassy, and provides them with counseling since “they are in distress,” the official, Avaran Abraham, said.

Not all Indians lured by Cambodian fraudsters are willing to escape immediately. Most of them are from poor backgrounds and some have paid hefty amounts to brokers, which they feel they must recoup before leaving, according to the reports.

Those who want to flee quickly often cannot get their passports from Cambodian “employers,” but, according to Abraham, the embassy helps them obtain travel documents to return to India. 

The Cambodian embassy in India did not publicly comment on the situation.

According to the United Nations, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have been trafficked to Southeast Asia to engage in online scams, ranging from illegal gambling to crypto fraud.

At least 120,000 people in Myanmar and another 100,000 in Cambodia have been tricked into participating in these scams. The UN said that these victims “endure inhumane treatment” and many have been subjected to abuses such as torture, arbitrary detention, and forced labor.

In March, hundreds of people were rescued from a compound in the Philippines where they were forced to carry out romance scams. The center was masquerading as an online gambling firm.

According to a United States Trafficking in Persons report, more than an estimated 10,000 remain held in “scam factories” in Cambodia.

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