In Cambodia, a Network Rescuing Trafficked Chinese Teens Is Unraveling

Cyber criminals rely on forced labor. A recent scandal spurred authorities to crack down — not just on the gangs, but also on those trying to set their victims free.

In December, Yun was smuggled out of China. A few days prior, a man had contacted the 14-year-old through a video app with an enticing job offer. Yun, a recent school dropout who was estranged from his family and who had been hopping between factory gigs, found the promised salary irresistible.

A handful of friends joined him. By the time the teenagers realized they had been misled, it was too late. Men they had never met took them on a journey that included riding in cars, trekking through mountains, and hiding in a boat. Suddenly, shop signs were in a foreign language.

At their destination, the six, all underage, were sold into a compound in the Cambodian city Sihanoukville. There, they were held captive and made to work scamming people over the internet.

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