InSight Brief: Forced scamming – an emerging form of modern slavery

Published July 2023

Forced scamming has emerged in the last few years as a new form of modern slavery. In the post-pandemic landscape, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been lured to scamming compounds in Southeast Asia and Africa via false job advertisements. Upon their arrival, the victims are kidnapped, locked in casinos, casinos, hotels, and gambling centres, and forced to work up to 20 hours a day perpetrating a range of fraudulent activities online, including romance scams, cryptocurrency investment schemes, online gambling, and betting.

This InSight Brief reviews the emergence and upsurge of forced scamming, discusses the key factors explaining its rise over the past few years, and examines the characteristics of the victims of this new form of modern slavery and the modus operandi of the criminal groups behind it. We then review policy approaches that have been adopted to tackle this novel phenomenon, and recommend further steps that policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders should undertake to more effectively counter the growth in forced scamming and protect potential victims.

InSight Brief

Download full report