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Article

22 Feb 2022

Author:
Reuters

China: Online classifieds platform 58.com under criticism after job scam reportedly reduced man to human trafficking victim in Cambodia

Cambodia job scam accusation brings backlash for 58.com in China, February 18, 2022

Chinese online classifieds platform 58.com has come under heavy criticism in China after a Chinese national said he was tricked by one of its job advertisements to become the victim of a human trafficking ring in Cambodia.

The company, China's equivalent of Craigslist, told state media [...] it would cooperate with a police investigation in Cambodia although it had "not yet established" whether the fraudulent job advert had been on its platform.

[t]he man…said he had been trafficked after going to Guangxi in response to a job advert on 58.com for work as a nightclub bouncer. [Then he] was smuggled to the Cambodian coastal city of Sihanoukville by a criminal gang and later forced to work for various telemarketing fraud schemes. [H]is captors began carrying out repeated extractions of blood from him after he refused to work, which put his life in danger.

The Chinese embassy in Cambodia confirmed parts of his story. [...] "The […] embassy [...] once again reminds Chinese citizens [...] to follow formal channels and not to believe in false adverts for high-paying jobs," the statement said.

58.com's response to state media [...was] drawing over 200 million views on [...] Weibo, where users accused 58.com of a wide range of unethical practices, from the high number of scams on the platform to the indiscriminate purchase and selling of user data.

58.com could not be immediately reached for comment. The company in 2020 was taken private by a consortium of investors who were backed by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.

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