Trafficking victims seek help from Myanmar

Anti-trafficking campaigners in Hong Kong release an audio recording of a city resident being kidnapped and forced to work for an online fraud organization in Myanmar.

The NGO Stop Human Trafficking and Hong Kong lawyer Patricia Ho today released an audio recording of a 30-year-old man named John who was stuck in Myanmar for three months and forced to carry out acts of violence. fraud under the pressure of armed men.

“I’ve seen people who tried to escape but failed. They were shot and brought back. Running away was not an option,” John said.

Human rights lawyer Patricia Ho (left) and Hong Kong anti-trafficking program director Michelle Wong during a press conference today.  Photo: AFP.

Human rights lawyer Patricia Ho (left) and director of the group Stop Human Trafficking in Hong Kong Michelle Wong during a press conference today. Image: AFP.

John said that he went to Thailand for a vacation at the invitation of a friend, but was kidnapped and taken to Myanmar. There, his passport was confiscated and he was forced to work for an online fraud ring.

John said that during his work, if he did not meet the revenue requirements, he could be sent to another place with 10 times worse conditions.

The Hong Kong government said that since January it has received requests for help from 39 residents forced to join an online scam ring. Twenty-one people are being held in Myanmar and Cambodia, while the remaining 18 are confirmed safe.

City law enforcement has set up a task force to deal with the matter and urged victims to use a government-provided mobile app to submit details and photos of where they are being held. end.

Johnson said he was contacted by the task force on August 23, but they said the situation was “out of control” and the matter had to be handled by the Chinese central government.

The man added that the Chinese embassy in Myanmar contacted him two months ago to try to help him leave, but then stopped responding.

Family members of scam victims in Hong Kong have reached out to the media and political parties to express their displeasure. Michelle Wong, director of the group Stop Human Trafficking Hong Kong, said human trafficking rings in Southeast Asia increasingly target young, educated Chinese.

Hong Kong police have arrested six people in connection with the scam. However, lawyer Patricia Ho argued that the lack of specific anti-trafficking and forced labor laws made it more difficult for police and prosecutors to do their jobs.

“The current system does not capture the seriousness of the type of crime we are monitoring,” Ho said.

Ngoc Anh (Theo AFP)

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