PETALING JAYA: The promise of lucrative paying “telemarketing” and customer services jobs in Cambodia has led to several young Malaysians falling prey to human trafficking syndicates, says MCA’s Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong.
The syndicates, which lure victims through their personal contacts or through social media advertisements, will confine these victims in buildings once they are in Cambodia.
There, there will be forced to make calls, sometimes as long as 15 hours a day, to scam people from their respective countries.
Some of the victims are also physically abused, with some as young as 17 years old, including girls.
“If you’re a Malaysian, you will be given a laptop to cheat Malaysians and if you fail to scam anyone, you will be beaten up,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.
Some victims, said Chong, had been taken through illegal routes while some entered the country with proper documents.
He added that some of these victims had gone to the country without their parents’ knowledge.
“I have already received more than 10 cases, seeking my help, but only two have been rescued. These two (victims) are in the Immigration detention centre because they had overstayed, and went there without proper documentation,” he said.
A mother known only as Wong said her 24-year-old son had told her that he was going to Penang to work at a hotel. However, a few days after arriving in Cambodia, he revealed the truth to her.
“He said he travelled there in a fully (tinted) car, and he couldn’t see outside throughout the journey,” she said, while adding that no stops were made until they arrived in Cambodia.
“He was so frightened and said the building was locked, and the entrance was guarded with gunmen, and there was no way to get out of the building,” she added.
She said her son got a reference for the job from a friend.
She said while he was not abused for not making any “sales”, his pay was deducted and he was “sold off” to another company.
Chong said he is working closely with the police to help the victims.
“Here I have 10 (victims) who managed to call me. I think there are at least 100 (victims),” he said, adding that he received the first message some two months ago.
The press was also shown voice messages, videos and text messages from victims, with one victim saying there were some 50 Malaysians held captive in the same premises as him.
The Malaysian police is working with the Interpol and can only help those who lodged a report, said Chong.
Chong added that some victims or their family who are unaware of the real situation have not lodged a report, and urged victims who are able to escape to go to the embassy or the nearest Malaysian company in Cambodia to seek help.
He said he also wrote to Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah earlier this month to seek his help, though he has yet to receive a response.
When contacted, Wisma Putra said it is monitoring the situation through its embassy and is in the process of collating more information, adding that more updates will be given in due course.