Indian Man Trafficked to Myanmar Scam Center, Witnesses Torture Before Ransom Release

Neel Vijay, a 21-year-old Indian, was trafficked to Myanmar and forced to work in a Chinese-run scam center, enduring brutal abuse until his family paid a ransom for his release. This harrowing story highlights the growing problem of human trafficking in the region.

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Indian Man Trafficked to Myanmar Scam Center, Witnesses Torture Before Ransom Release

Indian Man Trafficked to Myanmar Scam Center, Witnesses Torture Before Ransom Release

Neel Vijay, a 21-year-old man from Maharashtra, India, fell victim to human trafficking in August 2022 when he was lured to Myanmar along with five other Indian men and two Filipino women under the false promise of call center jobs in Bangkok. Instead, they were sold to Chinese-speaking scam companies that forced them to work up to 22 hours a day, targeting wealthy men in Western countries through romance scams.

Vijay witnessed brutal torture and punishment of those who refused to participate in the scams or could not afford the ransom demanded by the traffickers. "They would beat us, electrocute us, and even rape the girls who resisted," he recounted. The scam center was run by Chinese crime syndicates and armed groups operating in Myanmar's lawless border towns.

Why this matters: The trafficking of Neel Vijay and others to Myanmar scam centers emphasizes the growing problem of human trafficking and forced labor in the region. The United Nations estimates that more than 120,000 people, mostly men from Asia, have been forced to work in such scam hubs in Myanmar, generating billions of dollars for criminal organizations.

After enduring months of abuse and refusing to participate in the scams, Vijay's family managed to secure his release by paying a ransom of 600,000 Indian rupees (around $7,190). The article also mentions the case of Ravi, a 24-year-old Sri Lankan man who was similarly trapped and tortured in a Myanmar scam center.

The experiences of Neel Vijay and Ravi shed light on the harrowing reality faced by victims of human trafficking in Myanmar. "It was a nightmare. I thought I would never see my family again," Vijay said, expressing relief at his eventual release and return home to India. Authorities continue to confront the challenge of combating human trafficking and rescuing those trapped in Myanmar's notorious scam centers.

Key Takeaways

  • 21-year-old Indian man Neel Vijay trafficked to Myanmar for forced labor in scam center.
  • Victims subjected to brutal torture, rape, and forced to work up to 22 hours daily.
  • Scam centers run by Chinese crime syndicates and armed groups in Myanmar's border towns.
  • UN estimates over 120,000 people, mostly Asian men, forced to work in Myanmar scam hubs.
  • Vijay's family paid 600,000 Indian rupees ransom to secure his release after months of abuse.