Scam Trafficking, Rescues on the Rise: Regional Media

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A district guard stands in front of Jin Gang compound, where an operation involving Vietnamese nationals unfolded, in Sihanoukville’s Buon commune on April 29, 2022. (Mech Dara/VOD)

Eighty-nine Thais were removed from Cambodian scam compounds, Malaysia said it was working on the rescues of 60 nationals, and Vietnamese workers were brutally beaten in Cambodia, according to recent news reports from around the region.

The reports follow ongoing warnings by foreign governments about workers being duped into debt slavery in Cambodia. Last week, Vietnamese authorities told its citizens to be wary of job ads about “light work, high salaries” in Cambodia, as families were being asked to pay between $3,000 to $30,000 to get them out.

In Thailand, national police deputy Damrongsak Kittiprapas said on Monday that 89 Thai nationals were removed from four locations in Sihanoukville and another in Poipet in a series of raids, according to the Bangkok Post.

Two of the raids, in late June at Jing Cheng hotel and Bolai casino, have already been reported. The three others, dating June 6 and 7, took 28 people from two Sihanoukville locations and 40 from Poipet, the Bangkok Post said.

Malaysia’s ambassador to Cambodia, Eldeen Hasaini Mohd Hashim, meanwhile told government news agency Bernama on Sunday that the embassy had rescued 46 Malaysian workers from Cambodia so far this year, and 60 others remained to be freed.

“We are working closely with the Cambodian authorities in facilitating them to return home,” he told Bernama.

The ambassador previously told VOD that the issue had been going on for a long time, but rescues were becoming more numerous. “It’s important for us to share information and expose all of them,” he said in April.

In Vietnam on Saturday, VN Express highlighted the plight of two 19-year-old workers who had been trafficked to Cambodia.

“Many got bleeding noses after being badly beaten. They even used electric batons on us. … Screams of pain could be heard frequently in the building,” one of the workers told the newspaper, saying he was in Cambodia from March to April. “We were constantly threatened and forced to do illegal things. … We were fortunate to be discovered and rescued in time.”

Around 300 workers, mostly Vietnamese, were working on his floor at the compound in Cambodia, the worker said. Around 400 Vietnamese workers have been rescued from Cambodia so far this year, VN Express reported.

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