Cambodia Cyber ​​Slaves: The Lure of Jobs and Slavery in the Modern World, Cyber ​​Crime in Cambodia

Cambodia Cyber ​​Slaves: Even in today’s modern world, many people will not believe if someone says that people are being enslaved by beating them and making them do whatever they want. But yes it is true. In the past, people from the African continent were caught and sold in the market in the West. But today this method has changed. Now people are being lured to countries like Cambodia, Taiwan and Myanmar with the lure of jobs and other things through cyber nets. After this these men are enslaved. Recently such a case has come to light. Which belongs to Kabir Shaikh, who works as a financial securities analyst in an IT company in Pune. Kabir Shaikh’s case has busted the world’s biggest cyber fraud network.

Sold a Chinese national for $12,000

‘Al-Jazeera’ The channel has made a documentary interviewing many survivors of cyber slavery. In which he has brought to the world a lot of information about the experience of many who have suffered this harassment and what exactly it is. In this, he has interacted with Lu Xiangri, a financial securities analyst in China who was caught in this trap. Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Xiangri said he dreamed of starting his own business when he arrived in Cambodia in 2020. He was working in his friend’s restaurant here. But due to Corona crisis, this restaurant was closed and he got stuck in Cambodia. He didn’t even have money to buy a ticket back home. At that time he was offered a job by a person there. Talking about this, Xiangri said, “He said that I just wanted to do the job of analyzing the securities market for clients. For which the monthly salary will be more than 1,500 dollars. I thought I would only have to work for two months before I could go back to China.”When he arrived to work on his first day, he realized that it was a huge web of youth fraud that he was caught in. When he tried to leave, he was told that he could not. When he asked why, he was told that he had been sold to the company for $12,000. He cannot leave until he returns this money. 

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Jake Sims, director of human rights NGO International Justice Mission in Cambodia, said cases of trafficking and slavery are not uncommon. Thousands of people are being forced to work in scamming compounds in Cambodia. Scamming compounds are spread across Cambodia in casinos, hotels, resorts and office complexes, he said. Many people have been enslaved in this. Sims and his team have met many foreign nationals including Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Myanmar. Work has been done and is being done to get rid of such people. Jake Sims, giving information about this, has further said that many people who are trapped in this try to leave, but they are not able to leave because of the armed guards. Many news related to this also come out. If people caught in this call the police, they are beaten up. These people are sold for thousands of dollars on human-for-sale marketplaces to make money by defrauding people online. 

Painful videos of slavery atrocities surfaced 

Videos and photos of many who have been enslaved by cyber fraud have also surfaced through the internet in 2021. In the video that has come out in this, it is seen that many people have been physically abused. Also, in these videos, many people are seen being given electric shocks and being shackled next to iron beds. In one video, a man is seen sitting in the corner of a room. He is seen trying to avoid hitting his head with his hands as he is being beaten with sticks by many people. The man’s  family had demanded $3,000 to release him, and threatened to cut off his limbs if they didn’t pay. 

Trafficking, Torture and Slavery

During months of investigation, Al Jazeera spoke to many victims in Cambodia, China, Thailand and, most recently, Malaysia. Those who escaped Cambodian cyber slavery. In order to protect his identity, Al-Jazeera spoke to him using pseudonyms, the documentary said. Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Ming Al (pseudonym) said that if you don’t complete your work, they beat you. Electric batons deliver shocks. Ming arrived in Cambodia in March 2021 with his wife, toddler and newborn baby. He posted an ad on the Chinese social media app WeChat, offering a salary 10 times higher than the job he was working for. But like many others across Asia who applied after seeing job ads on apps like WeChat, QQ, WhatsApp or Telegram, he did. He was later tricked into Cambodia’s cyber-scam industry. Armed smugglers took him and others in his group across the Vietnamese border on a two-wheeler. He says, "I only hoped that their guns would not be used on us. I never expected to be smuggled into Cambodia without a passport. I didn’t think that I would be cheated while looking for a job online.”"text-align: justify;">Chinese cyber-scam operations and billions in profits

Chinese cyber-scam operations are big business. Billions of dollars are stolen every year. These scammers aren’t just targeting their own countrymen. While Europe, America to Australia target foreigners. Twenty-four-year-old Hong tells Al-Jazeera that he was forced to work in a lottery scam. Hong had accepted a job as a quality controller in a food factory through an online advertisement. He said he was asked to contact scam victims on the Chinese social media app QQ, build relationships, and ask people to download two apps to persuade them to invest in the lottery.

He said, “To trap people, he used to tell them that our tag-on program was hacked into the lottery system. If you log into both applications, we can make sure you win by controlling the draw behind the scenes.” He said he was not allowed to tell bettors that they could never win the lottery. Also, those who refused to contribute money, their accounts were blocked. Hong said that this was done so that the money invested so far would not be withdrawn. 

Why has Cambodia become the center of cyber slavery?

Cambodia is the third most corrupt country in Asia. Before this, North Korea and Afghanistan come first. Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian People’s Party have ruled the country for nearly 40 years. International rights groups have accused him and his associates of corruption, brutality and repression. They have shut down independent media. He has been persecuting his critics and banned the main opposition party. Many people say that they treat the country like their own business empire. The country’s growing ties with China have given it close military cooperation and Chinese investors, all of which have been further encouraged. In this, three major investors, Dong Lecheng, Zhu Yimin and Shi Zhijiang, have been convicted of multi-million dollar financial crimes in China. All of them have to do with cyber slavery in Cambodia. It is here that Chinese investment has transformed the once quiet seaside town of Sihanoukville (in Cambodia) into a casino metropolis. Where organized crime and corruption are rampant. Over the years it has become a major center for human trafficking and slavery. 

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