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Indonesian Court Sentences Three Perpetrators Guilty of Human Trafficking for Forced Labour in Cyberscamming

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – Nine Indonesian survivors received justice after their three traffickers were convicted of human trafficking for forced labour in cyberscamming by a District Court in Batam, Indonesia.   

Cyberscamming slavery has become a severe problem in Asia and across the world. Thousands of people have been lured by social media ads promising well-paying jobs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines. These jobs later turned out to be work conducting online scams, targeting victims worldwide with bogus romance or investment opportunities. 

With the brokers’ false promises, the nine survivors were trafficked to Cambodia in early 2022. Upon arrival, their employers took away their passport and ID, and forbade them from leaving the compound. The survivors were forced to create fake social media profiles and target wealthy, older people from different countries to invest in cryptocurrency. Some of the survivors were physically punished for not meeting their targets. 

After receiving a report from one of the family members of a victim, IJM Cambodia and the Cambodian National Police worked together to rescue the survivors. With the support of the Indonesian Embassy in Cambodia, the nine survivors were repatriated back to Indonesia in July 2022. The three perpetrators were subsequently arrested and put on trial in November 2022.

The three traffickers were sentenced to jail terms of between three and four years. The key trafficker was also ordered to pay restitution to her victims. 

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Moris*, one of the survivors who now works for a small furniture company, said that he is satisfied with the court’s verdict. He said:

“I really hoped for restitution, because my wife will soon give birth and we need money for baby expenses. I depend on this restitution because I did not receive any salary when I worked in Cambodia. Last, I hope that there will be no more forced labour crimes like this to happen in Indonesia.”

Chicha Z Elizabeth, a lawyer from IJM’s local partner Chicha & Partners Law Firm who assisted the survivors, agreed that she was satisfied with the court’s decision. She shared:

“We respect the court’s decision and are satisfied with the punishment given to the perpetrators. Since October 2022, we have provided legal assistance for survivors. We hope that with this incident, the survivors, and all people in Indonesia, especially in Batam, will be aware of human trafficking and be careful when getting a job offer abroad.”

IJM believes that criminal accountability is important to eradicate this crime. Andrey Sawchenko, Vice President of IJM’s Forced Labour Slavery Program in Asia Pacific, commended the Indonesian government and its partners for their commitment and relentless efforts in the fight against human trafficking in cyberscamming.

The survivors are moving on with their lives and hoping for better days ahead.

*A pseudonym

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