JAKARTA, INDONESIA (AP) – Indonesian officials said yesterday they freed 20 of their nationals who were trafficked to Myanmar as part of a cyber scam, amid an increase in human trafficking cases in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement that its embassy in Yangon with help from local networks had managed to release the victims from Myawaddy township and brought them to the Thai border on Saturday.
Myawaddy is in eastern Kayin state along the Thai border and is the site of an armed conflict between Myanmar’s military and ethnic Karen rebels. Fake recruiters had offered the Indonesians high-paying jobs in Thailand but instead trafficked them to Myawaddy, about 567 kilometres south of Naypyidaw, the capital, to perform cyber scams for crypto websites or apps, said Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry official Judha Nugraha.
The situation drew a national outcry in Indonesia after a video made by a victim went viral on social media last month. It showed dozens of grim-faced Indonesian workers in a dormitory room, asking their government to help them out of “the war zone” where they see violence almost every day.