The Pakistani citizens were rescued and sent back home after being made to work for 13-hour days in jail-like conditions. They had all traveled to Laos from various locations in Pakistan and at different times.
A fake hiring company in Laos had lured the men into seeking employment outside their country with promising wages on offer. But once they reached Laos, the men were locked up and forced to create fake social media accounts to scam innocent women.
Pakistan’s Home Secretary, Mr. Iqbal Hussain Khan told Dawn on Thursday that some of the detained Pakistanis, who even had their passport confiscated by their employers, were able to access the internet somehow and immediately contacted concerned officials to report their situation.
The victims were hired as Chinese interpreters but once they reached Laos, they were imprisoned in a building and forced to do illegal work and were tortured if they were unable to do them. The wages were also abysmal compared to the number of hours they were working every day.
Those who pleaded to go home were asked to pay a ransom amount in exchange for their freedom.
Mr. Khan informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the matter and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Samina Mehtab soon stepped in to resolve the situation. She also sought assistance from Chinese and Thailand officials.
Eventually, the trapped Pakistanis were rescued and brought back to the country in the first week of October, Mr. Khan stated.
He urged that Pakistani citizens pursuing job opportunities abroad should cross-check all available information about potential employers and remain cautious to avoid falling victim to scammers.