130 Indian Workers Rescued from Job Scams in Southeast Asia

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Indian Workers arrive at Chennai Airport, India from Thailand after being rescued from job scams.

The Government of India has recently rescued 130 professionals from Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia after they were tricked by job scammers to pursue fake job opportunities in Thailand’s IT sector.

The External Affairs Ministry of India’s spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said that these individuals were held against their will and coerced to commit cyber fraud by organizations dealing in digital scamming and forged cryptocurrencies.

As seen in the case of Malaysian workers recently, the Indian candidates were lured through attractive social media advertisements to apply for jobs in Thailand that didn’t exist. They were recruited by agents seemingly based in Dubai, Bangkok, and some Indian cities.

According to Bagchi, several of the workers were taken illegally across the border into region of Myanmar that is difficult to access due to the local security situation. Around 50 workers are now back from Myanmar but some others are still in police custody for entering the country without valid visas.

He added that 80 more Indian workers had been rescued in Cambodia and Laos.

In September, the Chief Minister of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin, had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that 300 Indians, including around 50 Tamils from the state, were being held hostage in Myanmar.

Citizens of other countries in the region like Thailand, Philippines, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and even nations in Africa and further have suffered from similar scams.

According to a United Nations envoy, the fraud networks, which are frequently linked to transnational organized crime, are established in nations with poor law enforcement, recruiting educated young people with promises of large incomes. The workers are then isolated and threatened with violence until they succeed in duping victims reached by phone into sending funds to foreign bank accounts.