Since 2020, across the Mekong region, particularly in Cambodia, Laos and ever more in conflict-torn Myanmar, industrial-scale online scam mills and online illegal casinos have been expanding, luring low-wage workers from across the region. Malaysian, Indonesian, Philippine, Vietnamese, and Thai nationals, but also people from South Asia, East Asia and Africa have been trafficked and forced to work and commit online scams inside large compounds against their will at the risk of abuses, tortures, and being killed.
Due to its geo-political position, Thailand is increasingly serving as a major hub in the trafficking route as well as for rescue operations. Recently the Indonesian Embassy communicated how a group of 20 victims was rescued from Myanmar to Thailand and now waiting for repatriation to Indonesia. To better understand the scope of this transnational crime and its regional implications SEA Junction organized the panel discussion with the title “Trapped in Cyber Scams in Mainland Southeast Asia” on 17 May 2023 at 5.30-7.00 pm at SEAJunction (4th Floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Center)
Photo credit: Kelly Khin