Human trafficking and forced labor behind online scams

A wild and terrifying story that offers a rare look at both human trafficking and the operations of a criminal gang running online scams.

As Mr. Lu quickly realized, there was, in fact, no translation job. No e-commerce company, either. It had all been part of a ruse, starting with a posting on a Chinese job forum, perfected by human traffickers to get people like him to travel to Thailand.

The traffickers had led Mr. Lu across the Moei River, a muddy waterway on Thailand’s porous border, and smuggled him, without his knowledge, into a remote corner of Myanmar. There, they handed him over to a Chinese gang that had paid for him.

Mr. Lu had essentially been abducted and sold into a criminal enterprise, far away from everything he knew.

That was how he became one of hundreds of thousands of people who have been trafficked into criminal gangs …