Human Trafficking Gangs Enslave Thousands of Crypto Scammers: Bloomberg


When investigative reporter Jordan Pearson received a flirtatious text message from a woman named Vicky Ho, he knew he was the target of a scam called “pig butchering”. Little did he know that the text would lead him to investigate the dark side of the crypto bubble, as detailed in his new book Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall.

Vicky began sending Pearson charts and screenshots of her day-trading successes, boasting profits of up to $18,600 in a single trade. She directed him to a crypto-exchange app called ZBXS and instructed him to transfer cryptocurrency to a 42-character string of letters and numbers. It quickly became clear that there were many victims of this scam around the world – a project finance lawyer in Boston lost $2.5 million, a divorced mother of three in St. Louis was defrauded of $5 million, and CipherBlade, a crypto-tracing firm, estimated that at least $10 billion had been lost in total.

But what Pearson found even more shocking was that the people posing as Vicky were likely victims as well, exploited by Chinese gangsters based in Cambodia or Myanmar. These criminals lured young people from across Southeast Asia with false promises of well-paying jobs, only to imprison and force them into a criminal racket.

Pearson was able to video chat with some of the workers who had escaped, and discovered that a giant building complex in southwestern Cambodia, Chinatown, held as many as 6,000 captive workers. He learned that two of them had seen workers murdered, and another said that Tether was the preferred method of payment because it was untraceable.

The conclusion Pearson drew was that the slave complex could not exist without cryptocurrency. His book reveals the harrowing truth that lies behind the crypto bubble.

Related articles

Recent articles