Indian authorities have rescued 32 Indian nationals who were lured to a remote part of Myanmar on the pretext of lucrative jobs in the IT sector, and are working with Thailand and Myanmar to help up to 60 others believed to be stranded in the same region.
Some fraudulent IT companies, which appear to be engaged in digital scamming and forged crypto activities, had lured the Indian nationals by using agents based in India, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday.
These companies apparently operated through the agents in Dubai, Bangkok and India to recruit Indian workers “on the pretext of employment opportunities in the IT sector in Thailand”, Bagchi said during the weekly news briefing.
“The workers are lured with social media advertisements of highly lucrative data entry jobs in Thailand. Unfortunately, these workers are then illegally taken across the border to the Myawaddy area of Myanmar, which is difficult to access due to the local security situation,” he added.
Efforts by the Indian missions in Myanmar and Thailand facilitated the rescue of 32 of the victims “from captivity and forced labour” in Myanmar, Bagchi said. “And we are trying to help others.”
“We would urge Indian nationals to exercise extreme caution before taking up such job offers. It may also be mentioned that the visa on arrival scheme in Thailand does not permit employment,” Bagchi said.
The Indian embassies in Thailand and Myanmar had issued advisories in this regard, and the Indian side has taken up the matter with both the countries.
While 32 Indian nationals have been helped out of an area in Myanmar with restricted access, the embassies in Myanmar and Thailand are in touch with 50-60 more Indians who have sought help.
People familiar with the matter said the fraught security situation along the Thailand-Myanmar border had facilitated the activities of the companies that lured the Indians. Most of the workers had rudimentary computer skills and had no inkling that they would be forcibly taken across the Thai border to Myanmar, the people said.
Some of the Indians stranded in India had posted video messages on social media in the recent days seeking help.