The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has received 15 complaints regarding Sri Lankan citizens being trafficked into Laos on alleged job scams.
Sri Lanka Mirror reports that over a dozen Sri Lankan youths who believed they were pursuing job opportunities in Thailand are now stranded in Laos.
The complaints have been filed by youths hailing from the South of Sri Lanka. The Bureau said that, with the exception of a few, the rest of its citizens remain trapped in Laos.
The Honorary Consulate of Sri Lanka in Laos also issued a statement last week stating that it is in the process of repatriating Sri Lankan citizens who have been scammed into Laos.
“At the moment, we are cooperating and communicating with the Lao authorities and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Bangkok. Hopefully, they will be able to return home in a couple of days,” said a spokesperson from the Honorary Consulate of Sri Lanka in Laos.
According to the consulate official, the victims were offered seemingly lucrative job opportunities online but in reality, they were coerced into defrauding wealthy westerners by convincing them to purchase cryptocurrencies or other sham online investments.
Over 300,000 Sri Lankans left their country in 2022 looking for better job opportunities as the country battled its worst economic crisis in 70 years. But some of them pursued job opportunities overseas only to end up as victims of human trafficking at Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bokeo province.
In 2022, citizens of countries including Nepal, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Philippines were rescued from Laos through assistance from their respective governments. Australia also issued a travel advisory cautioning its citizens from visiting Bokeo province.