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13 Nepalis Rescued from Forced Labor in Myanmar Digital Fraud Operation

March 23, 2024
Forced Labor in Myanmar

Thirteen Nepali nationals, trapped in a forced labor ring in Myanmar, have been rescued and returned home. The victims were lured with promises of high-paying jobs, only to be held captive and forced to carry out online scams and fraud in a remote, rebel-held region.

The daring rescue was a collaborative effort between the Embassy of Nepal in Thailand and Myanmar authorities. “The victims were handed over to Nepali officials by Myanmar police following the rescue operation,” confirmed Dhan Bahadur Oli, Nepal’s Ambassador to Thailand.

“They were tricked and forced to work in digital crimes in a rebel-controlled part of Myanmar,” stated Harischandra Ghimire, an official involved in the situation. The victims endured grueling 16-18 hour workdays under constant surveillance, tricked into using fake social media identities to carry out scams.

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The ordeal shines a light on the vulnerability of Nepali migrant workers, with officials admitting to a lack of accurate information on how many remain trapped. “There are hundreds of Nepalis still there, along with people from other countries,” said one of the rescued workers.

Those who refused to comply faced physical and mental abuse, sometimes even denied food. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal acknowledges this disturbing situation and the challenges of reaching those still under the control of the criminal group.

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