The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) leaders express concern over the increasing abuse of technology in facilitating human trafficking, proliferated by the usage and abuse of social media and other online platforms, both in Southeast Asia and worldwide, according to a draft of their statement obtained by The Associated Press.
Cybercrime syndicates’ use of social media and other platforms has made anti-trafficking measures more difficult and increased the scope and quantity of cases, it says.
Cybercrime scams have grown to be a significant problem in the region, with multiple reports of people from Asia and other regions being duped into accepting jobs in countries like Myanmar and Cambodia. But frequently they were forced to take part in online schemes that held people in a virtual state of servitude.
The scam networks, which frequently have ties to international organized crime, are established in countries with lax law enforcement and use promises of high salaries to attract educated young people.
Unless they are successful in scamming victims reached by phone into transferring payments into foreign bank accounts, the workers are then placed in isolation and threatened with violence.
According to the draft statement, the ASEAN leaders decided to improve cooperation in border management, investigation, law enforcement, prosecution, and victim repatriation. Additionally, it calls for enhanced public awareness campaigns and greater use of cutting-edge technologies in national preventative initiatives.
In the Philippines, a local broadcast company has already launched a campaign aimed at raising public awareness on cybersecurity to help prevent people from falling into cyber scams.
Through raising public awareness, according to them, they can arm individuals with ways to protect themselves from cyberthreats and stay safe online and, in the long run, help create a culture of cybersecurity awareness that is essential in the digital age.