Indian Government Rescues 250 Citizens Forced into Cybercrime in Cambodia

The Indian government has confirmed that it has rescued and repatriated around 250 Indian citizens who were held captive in Cambodia and coerced into executing cyber scams that target people in India. These victims of human trafficking were carefully lured by crime racket agents under the guise of employment opportunities, but these victims were forced into “cyber slavery” instead. India’s Ministry of External Affairs is working with Cambodian authorities to take down these human trafficking-fueled fraud scams developed by organized crime that extort money from Indian citizens. These captives faced inhumane conditions like not having access to food or rooms to sleep in if they did not meet the threat actors’ target quota. According to the United Nations, more than 200,000 people from around the world have been trafficked to countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, the Philippines, and Thailand to execute lucrative online scams. The U.S. Department of State, in its annual Trafficking in Persons report, called out China-based organized crime syndicates for posing as labor brokers to recruit people with English proficiency from Africa and Asia via social media with the promise of offering them lucrative jobs in Southeast Asia. Some of the scam tactics carried out include masquerading as law enforcement authorities to maintain a sense of trust with the victims.

Security Officer Comments:
This development underscores the global effect of new technology and organized cybercrime on regular citizens and nation-state authorities’ inability to make a significant dent in these fraudulent schemes. It also highlights that any person can be human-trafficked because a human resource can be exploited for a variety of fiscal benefits which includes organized fraud. In other instances of human trafficking, Chinese and Filipino citizens have also been entrapped and coerced into pig butchering scams which are schemes that lure victims into investing in seemingly legitimate-sounding companies that are designed to steal funds from crypto wallets. They gain their victim’s trust under the illusion of a romantic relationship. Human traffickers that organize these lucrative “scam factories” are an immense problem that has affected more than 200,000 people around the world and their families.

Suggested Corrections:
Users should always be cautious of individuals or organizations that ask for personal information. Most companies will not ask for sensitive data from their customers. If in doubt, users should verify with the company itself to avoid any potential issues. Users should not be frightened or intimidated by messages that have an alarmist tone. They should double-check with the company if they are uncertain about the status of their accounts. Users should always take a close look at the sender’s display name when checking the legitimacy of an email or message. Most companies use a single domain for their URLs and emails, so a message that originates from a different domain is a red flag. If it seems suspicious, it probably is. Users should always err on the side of caution when sending out personally identifiable information through messages and emails.