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ASEAN Crime News Southeast Asia

Thousands Lured into Online Scams in SEA

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The UN Human Rights Office says criminal gangs have forced hundreds of thousands of people in Southeast Asia into participating in unlawful online scam operations. These include false romantic ploys, bogus investment pitches, and illegal gambling schemes.

IN its report, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights cites “credible sources” that at least 120,000 people in strife-torn Myanmar and roughly 100,000 in Cambodia “may be held in situations where they are forced to carry out online scams.” Laos, the Philippines, and Thailand were also cited among the main countries of destination or transit for tens of thousands of people.

Criminal gangs have increasingly targeted migrants and lured some victims by false recruitment — suggesting they are destined for real jobs.

The exact impact in terms of people and revenues generated is hard to estimate because of their secrecy and gaps in governmental response, but it’s believed to be in the billions of U.S. dollars every year.

Some victims have been subjected to torture, cruel punishments, sexual violence, and arbitrary detention, among other crimes.

Pia Oberoi, a senior advisor on migration and human rights for the Asia-Pacific region at the U.N. human rights office, sees “two sets” of victims: people who get fleeced of large sums of money and people trafficked into working for the scammers, who themselves may lose money or face “stigma and shame” for the work they do.

Read the original article HERE.

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