UN Releases Human Trafficking Report Stating Victims Number in the Hundreds of Thousands
Posted on: August 30, 2023, 06:47h.
Last updated on: September 1, 2023, 02:48h.
A new report by the United Nations (UN) is looking to raise awareness of the torture and enslavement occurring through illegal gambling operations and fraudulent call centers across Southeast Asia.
Through its Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN released a report on Tuesday highlighting the work of online scammers across SE Asia. It states that these illicit schemes have affected a minimum of 120K individuals in Myanmar and potentially up to 100K in Cambodia.
The report states the illegal market is currently taking in billions of dollars annually.
Illegal operations expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic after the closure of legal casinos. The closures allowed organized crime to expand operations as many individuals found themselves out of work, desperate to find a way to make a living.
Although a major portion of these criminals originate from SE Asian locations like China and Hong Kong, criminal organizations operate in the region from Africa and Latin America.
The UN highlighted the prevalence of these crimes last month, stating “heinous violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms.” But now they’re also urging government officials to crack down on illegal operations.
The UN has urged local governments across SE Asia to bolster legislation and actively combat corruption, thereby dismantling the prevailing culture of impunity. Some have reportedly heeded the call and are said to be taking action.
However, in a follow-up to the report by Reuters, Chhay Kim Khoeun, the official representative of the Cambodian police, scoffed at the UN report regarding the country’s situation. He did seek clarification on the origin of the proclaimed 100K figure. He downplayed any possible surveys or data collection methods employed by the UN, believing that such numbers might be merely anecdotal statements from foreigners.
Myanmar, currently under a “state of emergency” over who’s in charge of the country, didn’t respond to a request for comment from Reuters. Several investigations have shown that human trafficking is rising there, although the military leadership has previously said it wants to tackle the increase.
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