Tech workers held captive in Asian scam factories

A worker was given a list of more than 3,000 names to contact and gain their trust.

Online job ads by organized cyber groups have been luring young Asians and forcing them to work in crypto and romance fraud scams across Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Trafficked captives are reportedly being held in makeshift scam factories across these countries.

Media platform Context released a detailed report containing the story of an Indian engineer who was one of allegedly thousands of captivated workers.

The story covers how he was asked to take a typing test during a graphic design interview for a job in Thailand.

Instead of starting his job after arrival, however, he – and a few more new recruits – had their passports and phones taken and were then taken into Myanmar.

His story is not unique unfortunately, as human trafficking is a sore issue for these countries, especially for Cambodia.

According to the report, the Indian engineer was held captive for 45 days and was given a list of more than 3,000 names to contact through various social media channels.

The idea was that him – and all the other captive workers – would spend some time getting to know the people on the list, gain their trust, and urge them to start investing in cryptocurrencies.

The scam was dubbed “pig butchering” by the FBI and poses some serious challenges for governments to track and shutdown.

One of the big problems these types of captive workers are facing, is that rescues only happen after the operation has been compromised. This means that both the workers, as well as the gangs that held them captive and drove the operation, can be perceived as criminals.

Cambodia has been having its reputation steadily eroded for a while now, thanks to its weak anti-money laundering practices and human trafficking problems.

A huge increase in general criminal activity, and governmental struggles to keep things in order, aren’t helpful either.

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Written by Kyamil Nasuf


Kyamil is a big tech fan, who loves hummus on everything and has enjoyed writing from a young age. He's had experience in writing anything from essays, through personal art, to news pieces and more serious tech analysis. In recent years he’s found fintech and gambling collide with all his interests, so he truly is a great fit to our team.

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