KK Park, the notorious and growing compound

New Report from ITV exposes the modern slavery networks behind Online Scamming

Many people assume that internet scammers are criminals; unethical fraudsters, looking to separate people from their money. But a growing number of online con-artists may themselves be victims of modern slavery crimes.

"Forced Scamming" is believed to be one of the fastest-growing forms of Modern Slavery, and affects people from all over the world. But how does this process work?

It begins with online job adverts, offering competetive salaries for work in Thailand. These roles offer attractive accomodation, living expenses and chauffer-driven transfer from the airport. These adverts appear legitimate, and feature online interview processes and screenings from people who appear to be recruiters. 

Young applicants from Europe, Asia and Africa are particularly vulnerable - particularly young graduates and the unemployed, who the traffickers target. 

Once the applicant has accepted the job and flown into Thailand, they are picked up from the airport and escorted across borders to prison-like complexes in Myanmar, Lao and Cambodia. Often the applicant may have no idea that anything is wrong until it's too late. 

Once they arrive, however, the reality is very different. They are held under threat of violence by armed men, and forced to scam others online, perpetuating cryptocurrency investment scams for the benefit of their traffickers.

This is a highly complex and organised form of exploitation that Interpol describes as "representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety."

Jake Sims from the International Justice Mission (IJM) is quoted as saying:

“They are not your stereotypical trafficking victim. These are educated people, many are multi-lingual, they’re technologically savvy, they’re young, from urban areas. They are going on social media platforms, looking for jobs. Very, very often lured by fake adverts using the slogans of major brands like Accenture Thailand."

Tackling these criminal networks is difficult. Many, such as the notorious KK Park in Myanmar, are believed to be run by Burmese Forces, in collaboration with Chinese companies believed to be Triad fronts. Regional unrest and civil war within Myanmar further complicate matters, meaning attempts to rescue victims are diplomatically fraught and incredibly dangerous.

For more information, read the full story at ITV's webiste here.