KUALA LUMPUR: They were beaten, starved and threatened with rape.
Held captive by armed men in a compound in Cambodia, Malaysians who were tricked by human trafficking syndicates into leaving the country had no choice but to work in their captors' online scams.
One of the victims, a man who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he was being held with 13 other Malaysians at the compound.
"They forced us to work in an online scam call centre.
"If we did not hit our target, they locked us up, beat us and even starve us," he said when contacted by MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong on Thursday (April 7).
Another victim said he was among fifty Malaysians held by the syndicate.
"We could not run away. The compound was secured by men with guns and handcuffs.
"We were forced to work for at least 15 hours daily scamming people around the world," he said adding that the syndicate members threaten to rape the girls when they did not hit their targets.
Chong said he had received more than 50 complaints involving similar cases since Chinese New Year this year.
"We are working with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and embassies abroad to bring these victims back safely.
"The victims send me pictures of themselves, sometimes battered and bruised, pleading to be rescued," he said, urging the public to be cautious when offered jobs overseas with the promise of high pay.
Chong said that the syndicates even used agents to demand large ransoms from family members of their captives in order to release them.
It was reported last week that at least 26 Malaysians have fallen prey to human trafficking syndicates and are believed to be still under their control and being forced to work overseas.
Bukit Aman CID Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants division (D3) has found that the victims are in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.