Malaysian women forced to engage in online scams in Cambodia
The Malaysian Chinese Association has raised the issue of about a hundred young women forced to work in call centres carrying out online scams. This is the tip of the iceberg that involves thousands of people at the mercy of criminal gangs linked to a casino network which Cambodian authorities welcomed into the country.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) – At least a hundred young women, some aged 17, are held in Cambodia, subjected to pressure and even physical abuse, forced into cyber slave work in online scams, this according to the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), an opposition political party representing Malaysia’s Chinese community.
At a press conference the MCA announced that all requests for information made to Cambodian authorities by Malaysian officials and the women’s relatives have proved fruitless.
After entering the country, women are placed in isolation, under armed guards and forced to engage in cyber fraud. If they fail to meet scamming quotas they are punished.
Thousands of people from Asian countries have been lured to Cambodia by job offers only to be forced to work in slave-like conditions in various service activities.
Young women are particularly vulnerable to this traffic, forced into prostitution as well as cyber fraud.
Most of the victims are in the women’s countries of origin, and all the benefits go to brutal criminal gangs, connected mostly to a Chinese-run casino network that has set up across the small Southeast Asian country in recent years.
Cambodian authorities allow them operate because of the benefits they bring to the country, above all to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The former Khmer Rouge operative has been in power for 35 years, and has developed close ties to China through an “open door” policy vis-à-vis Chinese business groups.
This has helped him deflect international criticism of his autocratic regime and resist calls for sanctions against his repression and denial of democratic political rights.
The Malaysian case is only the tip of the iceberg. Thai authorities have also opened specific investigations and undertaken steps to repatriate about 3,000 Thais believed to be enslaved.
Pakistan, Vietnam, and China have been doing the same thing for some time.