2023-10-18 9 英文报告下载
This briefing paper sets out human rights concerns arising since early 2021 from online scam operations including their link to human trafficking in Southeast Asia1 as well as recommendations drawn from international human rights standards. These concerns occur in the context of wide-ranging digital criminal activity such as romance-investment scams, crypto fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling.2 At the time of writing this paper, the situation remains fluid: hundreds of thousands of people from across the region and beyond have been forcibly engaged in online criminality, States within the region are trying to identify actions and policies to address this phenomenon, while criminal actors are reacting by finding ways to change and relocate their operations, building new centres across the region and upgrading existing compounds. At the outset it is important to acknowledge that there are two sets of victims in this complex phenomenon. People who have been defrauded through online criminality are victims of the financial and other crimes committed by these scam operations. Many have lost their life savings, taken on debt and suffered shame and stigma for having been scammed.
On the other side, individuals who are coerced into working in these scam operations and endure inhumane treatment are victims of serious human rights violations and it is their situation that is the focus of this briefing paper. People who are forced to take part in online scams are most often trafficked persons and migrants in vulnerable situations who face a range of human rights risks, violations and abuses.3 A human rights-based approach to this complex situation means not merely addressing organised crime or enforcing border controls, but seeks to place the victims at the centre of the response, by addressing structural factors, tackling impunity and providing protection and justice for victims of trafficking and migrants in situations of vulnerability.4 Human trafficking is a recognised criminal offence under international law and many of the practices associated with trafficking constitute violations under international human rights law.5 Violations of human rights are both a root cause of trafficking and can occur throughout the trafficking cycle.