53 Indonesians, duped to work at cyber scam center in Cambodia, are being held hostage: MoFA

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Photo illustration

Fifty-three Indonesians are being held against their will at a cyber scam center in Cambodia, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, after they were lured to the country by fake job ads online.

The ministry says it has filed a formal request with the Cambodian police to ensure that the Indonesian citizens are freed and returned home.

“The victims were sent to Cambodia by recruiters — who are Indonesian citizens — to work as cyber scammers at a company owned by a Chinese citizen,” Teguh Adhi Primasanto, first secretary of the Indonesian Citizens Protection department at the Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh, said yesterday.

Teguh added that the 53 Indonesians have been held in Sihanoukville since arriving on July 18. 

The town, located in Cambodia’s southern coast, is well-documented to house industrial-scale scam centers. There, thousands are imprisoned, abused, and forced to scam people around the globe after they arrived under similar circumstances as the 53 Indonesians.

It was reported that the trafficking victims managed to directly contact the Indonesian government to ask for help.

In Indonesia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on local police to track down shady recruiters who may have ties to scam operations in Sihanoukville.

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