Almost 870 Foreigners Rescued from Human Trafficking Scams

In four months, authorities have rescued 865 victims across four provinces from the clutches of human traffickers after grave concerns were raised by international and local stakeholders
A police officer walks in an alley in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A police officer walks in an alley in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

About 865 foreign nationals have been rescued within four months in 87 human trafficking cases across four provinces, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said on Friday.

The rescues come after multiple calls from both national and international stakeholders and foreign embassies in Cambodia for authorities to intervene and save victims trapped in the trafficking of humans.

Kheng said in an appeal letter on Friday that cases had been investigated and people rescued on time by the Cambodian authorities

From January 1 to August 20, authorities found and rescued 865 foreigners that are victims of human trafficking from 87 cases. To date, 60 suspects in 17 cases have been brought to court for further procedures, Kheng said.

On August 4, authorities rescued 25 victims from six nationalities in seven cases. A total of 23 suspects from four nationalities were detained in the provinces of Preah Sihanouk, Pursat, Svay Rieng and Oddar Meanchey, Kheng said.

The rest of the cases are ongoing for further investigations for rescue and suppression, he added.

“On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the national committee to fight human trafficking, I am really regretful and condemn these inhumane acts,” Kheng said. He thanked those, including foreign embassies, who provided information that led to arrests and rescues.

Kheng said those rescued had been promised jobs but instead were tricked into working for illegal online gambling casinos through social media.

They had been forced to work in illegal online gambling and were often transferred from one company to another, and one group to another by criminals without their agreement, Kheng said.

Moreover, in some cases victims face violation and threats from the criminals if they do not follow commands, he added

Soeung Sen Karuna, spokesman at rights group Adhoc, said taking action to rescue them are obligations and necessary for solving the human trafficking in the country. He believes this happened after foreign media outlets published news of human trafficking in Cambodia and Malaysia, including the Philippine embassies, which requested action to rescue their citizens from Cambodia.

“The government has to take further rescue measures if there are dependencies or requests for help,” he said.

He added, “Furthermore, the government has to a campaign to control this following the casinos and other enterprises having foreigners work and stay there in order to make sure that places have the human trafficking, kidnapping, and labour trafficking or not.”