Pig Butchering in Myanmar cnn.com

Alastair McCready and Allegra Mendelson, South China Morning Post (likely paywalled):

Cambodia’s scam sector gained infamy last year after reports seeped out of massive human trafficking, forced labour and systematic torture. The Philippines’ role as a major scam hub was also reaffirmed in late June when a raid on a Chinese-run scam complex in southern Manila freed more than 2,700 people, while Laos is host to large-scale scam operations at the notorious Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone.

But in Myanmar, these brutal criminal enterprises continue unchecked. They are abetted by the country’s ongoing domestic turmoil, brought about by the 2021 military coup, and operated by alliances of Chinese criminals and a local paramilitary group, beyond the reach of outside law enforcement, civil society and the media.

Teele Rebane, et al., CNN:

In three short years, according to UN and FBI investigators, transnational crime organizations have exploited developments in technology and the civil war in Myanmar to build a billion-dollar industry to scam people across the world out of their life savings.

This huge scam operation relies on army of modern-day slaves, assembled by what the UN has called one of the largest human trafficking events in Asia in recent history.

It’s known as a “pig butchering” scam — a type of confidence fraud in which victims are lured by scammers often impersonating young women on the internet. The scammers then spend weeks building a relationship with their victim, introducing them to cryptocurrency and encouraging them to invest on a fake platform.

In his book “Number Go Up”, Zeke Faux reported on the mass scam operations in Cambodia.

There are a bunch of stories about what these operations are like for scammers and the criminals they are coerced into working for. It is a consistently sad and brutal story, but it is one that is important to keep studying and repeating as a cautionary tale for the multiple layers of potential victims.

The CNN article is good, but it appears to draw heavily from other sources for which it gives no credit. Most obvious is the SCMP story; it also seems to me based on the details provided that CNN spoke to the same U.S. victim as first reported by Cezary Podkul and Cindy Liu of ProPublica last September. I recommend reading them all, as each has different details the others lack, though the ProPublica story is the most comprehensive.