Human Trafficking and Online Fraud: 5,000 Indians Held as Slaves in Cambodia

Human Trafficking and Online Fraud

New Delhi: In a shocking revelation, it has come to light that at least 5,000 Indians have been held against their will as slaves in Cambodia. These victims have been coerced into committing online fraud, specifically targeting fellow Indians. The scale of this criminal operation is staggering, with an estimated Rs 500 crore earned from the scam over the last six months.

The Unfortunate Situation

The victims, stranded in Cambodia, have alleged harrowing conditions. They were forced to create fake social media profiles and engage in fraudulent activities, deceiving unsuspecting people in India. Their ordeal included threats and deprivation: “If we failed to meet the target, they did not give us food, or did not allow us to rest,” revealed one of the rescued victims.

Collaborative Efforts to Expose the Scam

Both India and Cambodia worked together to expose this criminal network. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed that approximately 250 Indians have been rescued and brought back to safety. The victims’ plight caught the attention of Indian authorities, who promptly responded to complaints from those lured by false employment opportunities in Cambodia.

The Modus Operandi

The fraud came to light last year when a senior central government employee reported a loss of over Rs 67 lakh due to this scheme. Rourkela police in Odisha took action, arresting eight individuals allegedly involved in smuggling people to Cambodia. A lookout circular was issued for 16 other suspects.

Detentions and Revelations

Two individuals, Harish Kurapati and Naga Venkat Saujanya Kurapati, were detained at Hyderabad airport upon their return from Cambodia. Stephen, another victim rescued from Cambodia, shed light on the modus operandi of the online fraud racket. He and two others had been promised data entry jobs in Cambodia by an agent in Mangaluru. However, upon arrival, they were informed that their actual task was to create fake profiles and deceive people.

Human Trafficking and Online Fraud

Daily Targets and Punishment

Media reports indicate that failing to meet daily targets resulted in harsh consequences, including withholding food and rest. The victims’ courage in sharing their stories has led to the exposure of this criminal enterprise.