Southeast Asia: OHCHR's report reveals hundreds of thousands of victims held in online scam operations in Southeast Asia with Cambodia & Myanmar as main hubs
"Hundreds of thousands trafficked to work as online scammers in SE Asia, says UN report", 29 August 2023
Hundreds of thousands of people are being forcibly engaged by organised criminal gangs into online criminality in Southeast Asia - from romance-investment scams and crypto fraud to illegal gambling - a report issued today by the UN Human Rights Office shows.
Victims face a range of serious violations and abuses, including threats to their safety and security; and many have been subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary detention, sexual violence, forced labour, and other human rights abuses, the report says.
“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,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk…
The enormity of online scam trafficking in Southeast Asia is difficult to estimate, the reports says, because of the clandestine nature and gaps in the official response. Credible sources indicate that at least 120,000 people across Myanmar may be held in situations where they are forced to carry out online scams, with estimates in Cambodia similarly at around 100,000…
… “All affected States need to summon the political will to strengthen human rights and improve governance and the rule of law, including through serious and sustained efforts to tackle corruption. This must be as much a part of the response to these scams as a robust criminal justice response,” said Türk.
“Only such a holistic approach can break the cycle of impunity and ensure protection and justice for the people who have been so horrifically abused.”