Trafficking Victims Are Finally Being Freed From Cambodia—But the Scam Industry Is Far From Over

Criminal syndicates are relocating to evade arrests in Cambodia and casting a wider net across the world to recruit their next victims.

Sid blinked away tears as he stepped off the plane. The 26-year-old was greeted at the airport by his parents and younger brother, who he thought he might never see again. After a six-month ordeal that saw him held first by criminal gangs in Cambodia, then detained by local authorities, Sid finally returned home to South Asia in late October.

“I’m safely home,” he wrote in a recent message to VICE World News on WhatsApp. Sid requested the use of a pseudonym as he didn’t want to be stigmatized at home. “I have a feeling I just returned to my normal life. Just need familiar faces to forget all these things.”

Sid is hoping to start anew, setting up a company of his own to offer services in fixing computers and installing CCTV cameras. But first, he has to pay off a bank loan his parents took to finance his trip to Cambodia and shake off the trauma that continues to haunt him.

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