TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese teenager from Tainan had been subjected to physical abuse including electric shocks in Cambodia for three months before his escape in one of the rampant human trafficking cases involving Southeast Asian countries.
The victim, a 17-year-old teen, was tricked into working in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville in April. His passport was confiscated upon his arrival and he was forced to engage in online investment scams exploiting romance seekers, according to the National Police Agency.
The victim said he would be beaten or even receive electric shocks if he refused to comply. According to him, he was sold multiple times because he failed to meet the demand of the fraud rings.
The ordeal lasted months until two weeks ago when he was sold again to crooks in Myanmar. He and another victim managed to flee within the borders of Thailand on route to Myanmar and were finally able to contact Taiwan’s representative office in Thailand with the assistance of an international non-government organization. He returned to Taiwan on Aug. 5.
The office cautioned that assisting human trafficking activities in Thailand risks a jail term of up to 20 years. Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau has flagged a surge in social media ads over the past months attempting to dupe citizens into forced labor in Southeast Asia.
Taiwanese lawyer Lu Chiu-yuan (呂秋遠) said Monday (Aug. 8) that people who have sought his help told him that such victims would suffer sexual abuse, beating, and even have their organs harvested. The safest way to end the torment is by paying a ransom of around US$20,000 (NT$600,000).