The Vietnamese consulate in Cambodia has been receiving dozens of rescue requests from victims of human trafficking as
Amid the ongoing human trafficking crisis in Cambodia, the Vietnamese consulate in Sihanoukville has been receiving numerous calls from victims on a daily basis.
“Recently calls have been coming day and night and constantly. We don’t dare turn off our phones,” Consul General Vu Ngoc Ly told VnExpress.
The consulate has been collaborating with Cambodian authorities to carry out joint operations in rescuing Vietnamese individuals who have been lured and held captive by human traffickers.
The crime syndicates operating in Cambodia have targeted individuals from Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Thousands of people are lured by traffickers promising them “easy jobs with high wages,” when in reality, they are exploited and held as prisoners.
“The consulate cooperated with the local police and rescued 270 workers trapped in the facility. All of them were Vietnamese, but only around 50 of them had papers, while the rest had traveled to Cambodia illegally,” Ly said.
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According to Ly, one major issue that rescuers face is incomprehensive information given by victims.
“Many messages only have names and ages, along with pictures of personal ID cards. Family members only know that they traveled to Cambodia or were residing in Sihanoukville, but do not know where exactly they are,” Ly told VnExpress. “Some do send GPS data, but they only show an area with five or six buildings; we don’t know for sure in which building they are.”
Colonel Khong Ngoc Oanh of the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Police Department reportedly noted that several trafficking groups operate in deep forests under the guise of being legitimate companies.
The Cambodian police need exact address information before they can deploy officers. Ly also noted that the amount of Vietnamese people coming to Cambodia illegally is on the rise, and they eventually become victims of forced labor.
“Every time we get one person out, another two or three get in,” he said.
Victims are asked by traffickers to sign contracts and are given quotas. When contracts are breached or quotas are not met, they are beaten or ordered to pay compensation. They can only return home if they pay the captors a ransom of up to $30,000. Last week, authorities rescued 118 Malaysians and 50 Filipinos who were lured to Cambodia through online scamming and catfishing between January and September this year.
Since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, many victims have been sold into slavery in areas like Sihanoukville and Preah Sihanouk since late last year. Ly said it is important to educate people, especially those who lack access to information, about the dangers behind “easy jobs with high pay” in foreign countries.