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India rescues nationals forced to work in cyber scam factories

Hundreds of Indian citizens trapped and forced to work in Cambodian cyber scam factories have been rescued.

user icon Daniel Croft
Tue, 02 Apr 2024
India rescues nationals forced to work in cyber-scam factories
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Thanks to close collaboration between the Indian Embassy in Cambodia and Cambodian law enforcement, 250 Indian nationals have been rescued from cyber scam factories, with 75 individuals rescued in just the last three months.

According to Shri Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, India plans to continue rescuing citizens trapped by these schemes.

“We remain committed to helping all those Indian nationals in Cambodia who seek our support,” he said.


“We are also working with Cambodian authorities and with agencies in India to crack down on those responsible for these fraudulent schemes.”

South-east Asian cyber scam factories lure in hundreds of thousands of people around the world in job scams, offering young people with tech-based skills lucrative jobs, such as data entry roles, but then put them to work crafting illegal scams.

These acts often involve scamming people through phishing, fraud and pig-butchering or love scams, in which scammers pose as interested parties such as lovers and build relationships with victims, gaining their trust before convincing them to hand over money or make scam investments.

These workers then become trapped due to not having enough money to escape and/or having their passports held by the scam operation.

According to a report released by the UN in August 2023, at least 100,000 people in Cambodia alone are forced to work in these cyber scam factories, with at least another 120,000 in Myanmar.

The Indian Express reported that there are over 5,000 Indians being held in cyber scam schemes in Cambodia. It also said that the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs met with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre to develop a plan on how to rescue trapped Indian nationals from Cambodia.

Speaking with The Indian Express, Second Secretary (Consular and Diaspora) Avaran Abraham said that complaints from trapped Indians in Cambodia are frequent and come from all over the country.

“The moment we get a request, we inform the police. We also guide them on how to travel to the embassy, and since they are in trauma, we even counsel them,” he said.

“The problem which should be highlighted is that when these people are being rescued and getting back to India, invariably, they are not filing an FIR with the police. It is only when FIRs are filed, the Indian police will be able to get to these agents/companies.”

For context, an FIR is a first information report, which is a written document prepared by law enforcement that contains the initial information of an offence and is the first step in dealing with a criminal incident.

“We are in regular coordination with the MHA. Whenever we get details of any agents, we share those with them. When people file FIR, only then the police will come into the picture,” Abraham said.

Abraham added that once the trapped nationals escape, they are aided with the documentation they need to get home, as those affected are often without passports.

“In such cases, when they approach the embassy, we help them with travel documents with which they can immediately go back to India,” he said.

“In most of the cases, the Cambodian authorities have helped in rescue, and when the police carry out rescue operations, they also get their passports back.”

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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