Experts Warn Online Scams Targeting Human Trafficking

( – Human trafficking scams are becoming more common around the world, with traffickers targeting victims with promises of honest, lucrative work only to recruit them into an online criminal organization, according to Interpol.

The France-based law enforcement organization works around the world to coordinate police activity in different countries where transnational criminal mafias operate across borders. The majority of scam centers where dozens or hundreds of victims are forced to work are located across Southeast Asia, but more frequently new ones are being discovered in South America.

Interpol assistant director Rosemary Nalubega said that “concerted global action” was required to address the problem. She also said that vulnerable individuals are being abused by traffickers every day.

Interpol gave an example of a group of Ugandans who were promised work in Dubai. They were then shipped to Thailand and ultimately Myanmar, where traffickers forced them to work on scams defrauding banks.

Another example saw 40 Malaysians promised work in Peru, only to get there to be forced into committing telecommunications fraud.

Interpol added that Myanmar authorities had freed trafficking victims from 22 different countries who were either lured or transported there with promises of legitimate work.

The fraud begins with recruiters posting ads for what looks like a legitimate job. They offer high salaries and target English-speakers or anyone with advanced computer knowledge. When they show up for work on their first day they’re forced to engage in cybercrimes like identity theft, fake romances, and illegal gambling.

The victims are isolated away from home, and are forced to work for months or years. They may have their food restricted, as well as little to no access to medical care or communications.

The problem became more common during the pandemic, according to data provided by Interpol. Researchers believe that the excessive amount of time people spent online allowed them to be targeted by scammers.

You can protect yourself by refusing digital contact with people you don’t know otherwise, or whose accounts seem suspicious.

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