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Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam nab suspected traffickers

Rescued Vietnamese victim reportedly sold into Cambodia for $1,800
A Bangladeshi military guard stands beside three people arrested for human trafficking with Rohingya Muslim refugees at the registration center, in Teknaf on Oct. 1, 2017

A Bangladeshi military guard stands beside three people arrested for human trafficking with Rohingya Muslim refugees at the registration center, in Teknaf on Oct. 1, 2017. (Photo: AFP)

Published: August 23, 2022 11:04 AM GMT
Updated: November 16, 2022 11:42 AM GMT

Law enforcement agencies in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam have arrested dozens of people suspected of human trafficking and ties with organized crime syndicates and online fraud in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

In Vietnam, police in An Giang province said two people had been arrested for “organizing illegal exits” after an investigation into the escape from a Cambodian casino of 40 Vietnamese who swam across a river dividing the two countries.

Additionally, the Vietnam News Agency reported that a 16-year-old girl known as “Y.L.” had been rescued four months after she was sold into Cambodia for $1,800, alongside five others, and then resold between five companies and forced to work in the southern port town of Sihanoukville.

The report said she tried to leave but was told by her employer that she would have to pay $3,500 or lure another three to five Vietnamese into Cambodia before she would be released. She was then on-sold, again.

She eventually contacted her family and was rescued by a joint team of Vietnamese-Cambodian border guards. The whereabouts of the other five are not known.

Police in Taiwan also announced that a total of 75 suspects have been arrested and that a total 72 people had been freed from human traffickers in Cambodia where they were forced to work a range of fraudulent telecom scams involving online gambling, cryptocurrencies and dating services.

Taiwan launched investigations after confirming that more than 300 of its nationals were being held in Cambodia, most in Sihanoukville. Many had answered online advertisements offering high-paid jobs, which turned out to be a ruse.

Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said in a statement on Monday that the release of another five of its nationals had been secured with the assistance of “public and private groups” and would be flown home via Thailand.

It also said the number of confirmed human trafficking cases now stood at 25.

Another five arrests were made by Hong Kong police after at least 30 people were lured into Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, where they had been forced to engage in illegal work since January.

Tony Ho, senior superintendent of the organized crime and triad bureau, said police had arrested three men and two women suspected of tricking Hong Kongers into accepting “highly unrealistic” job offers.

He said the victims were given flight tickets but had their passports taken when they landed, before being sent to a scam center where they were forced to defraud others.

The arrests were made after police fielded 36 calls for help and Ho said 22 victims were still believed to be held in Cambodia and Myanmar. Of them, nine people had failed to contact their families or the police.

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Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
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William J. Grimm
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