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Hundreds of thousands trafficked into online scam centres across Southeast Asia: UN report

2023 Aug 30, 8:32, New York [US]
Pic: ANI

The United Nations said in a report that hundreds of thousands of people are being trafficked by criminal gangs and forced to work in scam centres and other illegal online operations that have surged across Southeast Asia in the past years, reported Al Jazeera.

The report cited “credible sources” estimated that at least 120,000 people across Myanmar and around 100,000 in Cambodia may be trapped in scam operations, with other criminal-owned enterprises in Laos, the Philippines and Thailand ranging from crypto-fraud to online gambling.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said, “People who are coerced into working in these scamming operations endure inhumane treatment while being forced to carry out crimes. They are victims. They are not criminals."

According to the report, the fast-growing scam centres are generating billions of US dollars in revenue each year, reported Al Jazeera.

“Faced with new operational realities, criminal actors increasingly targeted migrants in vulnerable situations … for recruitment into criminal operations, under the pretence of offering them real jobs,” the report added.

The report further said that most of the trafficking victims were from other Southeast Asian countries as well as China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Whereas, some others were recruited from as far away as Africa and Latin America.

Moreover, the UN rights office called on regional governments to strengthen the rule of law and handle corruption to "break the cycle of impunity" that allows criminal enterprises to thrive, according to Al Jazeera. 


United Nations trafficking Southeast Asia Volker Turk Myanmar Cambodia
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