Malaysian Man Lured Into Human Trafficking Scheme Via Facebook Job Ad, Then Forced Into Crypto Scam

Malaysian Man Lured Into Human Trafficking Scheme Via Facebook Job Ad, Then Forced Into Crypto Scam
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Anete Lusina

Recently, a Malaysian man faced a harrowing ordeal after responding to a job advertisement on Facebook. The advertisement, promising a lucrative customer service position at a Cambodian casino, turned out to be a trap laid by a human trafficking syndicate. Having lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic, the man saw an opportunity for employment and financial stability in what seemed like a legitimate job offer. Little did he know that this would lead him down a path of exploitation.

Cover Image Source: Pexels | Cottonbro Studio
Pexels | Photo by Cottonbro Studio

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Upon arrival in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, the man quickly realized the dire nature of his situation. His passport was confiscated, and he was imprisoned on the fourth floor of a compound, alongside other captives, for four months. The compound became both his residence and his prison, a place where freedom was a distant memory.

Forced into a world of deception and fraud, he was coerced into perpetrating crypto scams targeting unsuspecting Canadians and other English-speaking Westerners. The scheme, known as pig butchering, involved building false relationships with potential victims to lure them into dubious cryptocurrency investments. Under the watchful eye of his captors, the man was expected to entice 15 new targets each day.

People shop in Macy's department store | Getty Images | Photo by Mario Tama
Getty Images | Photo by Mario Tama

The conditions within the compound were nothing short of deplorable. The victim recounts being subjected to physical violence and electric shocks as punishment for any perceived disobedience. Despite the oppressive environment, the man's resilience shone through as he attempted to break free from his captors' grip.

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Using a clandestine online messaging app, he reached out for help, only to be thwarted and subsequently sold to another fraudulent enterprise for a sum of $11,000. However, he refused to give up, resorting to creating a fake social media account to get help.

Soon enough, the International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-profit organization dedicated to combatting human trafficking, worked alongside local authorities to rescue the victim.

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"Your typical profile is someone who probably speaks a couple of languages, is college-educated, and probably is quite savvy with technology, with social media. They're out of work, they're seeking quite high-risk employment opportunities, so they are desperate," said Jake Sims, IJM's country director for Cambodia.

10 Unmissable Business Trends Shaping the Future Pexels | by cottonbro studio
Pexels | by Cottonbro Studio

According to Canada's Anti-Fraud Centre, victim losses from fraud and cybercrime amounted to $530 million in 2022, marking a 40 percent increase from $380 million in 2021. Among these, investment scams, especially those related to cryptocurrency, accounted for the highest victim losses in Canada, surpassing $300 million in 2023, outpacing losses from romance scams, phishing, and other forms of fraud.

The chilling ordeal endured by the victim is an eye-opening reminder of the dangers lurking within the digital world. Behind the facade of enticing job offers and promising opportunities lie insidious networks of exploitation. As society grapples with a rise in online recruitment, it is imperative to remain vigilant and prioritize the protection of vulnerable individuals from falling victim to such heinous crimes.

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