Online fraud: how Chinese nationals forced to run internet scams in Cambodia earn millions for their captors, sometimes paying with their lives

Lured or trafficked to Cambodia with promises of lucrative jobs, victims instead find themselves worked relentlessly by brutal bosses fleecing people online.

Sixteen-year-old Guizhou native Guo Ying had just finished eating dinner one evening last February when her best friend announced that the car taking them to work further south in China had arrived.

Recruited on social media by someone her friend had met while gaming, the teens had little information about the job and were initially reluctant to get into the vehicle. The young women, who lived independently from their families, knew only that it involved typing, a skill both had perfected while playing games online.

“We didn’t think too much about asking what kind of job it was and somehow we ended up going,” says Guo, a petite teenager sporting waist-long pink hair, whose name has been changed for her safety.

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