An increasing number of Malaysian citizens have been falling prey to seemingly lucrative job offers by syndicates in countries like Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, leading to their capture and trade.
Support groups have started rallying to demand that the Malaysian foreign ministry seek the support of governments in these countries so that there is an urgent intervention regarding this issue.
According to the secretary of the police force, Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin, 238 Malaysians had fallen victim to the jobs syndicates last month, and 168 people are still stranded abroad. Until September 4, 87 people who were tricked into traveling abroad were rescued by the foreign ministry.
Attractive advertisements are usually used to dupe people to apply for customer service jobs with good pay in neighboring countries. Some would be even contacted by agents who would promise to take care of their travel expenses. But once the job seekers actually reached their destinations, their passports and phones are seized and they are coerced to work for syndicates involved in online gambling, investments, love scams, and other illegal activities. Victims are often also moved within syndicates and to different countries using illegal routes.
Hishamuddin Hashim, secretary-general of the Malaysian International Humanitarian Organisation suggested that citizens should be stopped from working for companies who are not listed with the Home Ministry or don’t have a good track record of clearing salaries on time. He asked the administration to raise this issue at the ASEAN conference because if the syndicates’ operations went unchecked, they would grow more brazen, complicating matters even further.
“We need to put pressure by using the Asean platform and the prime minister (of each Asean country), because if we continue to use the normal channels the case will never be solved,” he said.