Al Jazeera English awarded prestigious IRE Award for investigation into criminal syndicates running cyber slave compounds in Cambodia
101 East, Al Jazeera English’s flagship current affairs programme covering the Asia Pacific, has been awarded the Video Division I prize by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) in the United States.
The powerful investigation “Cambodia’s Cyber Slaves” exposes mass trafficking, torture and enslavement inside the country’s multibillion-dollar cyber scam industry, as well as the criminals behind it and their links to the ruling elite.
Reports of cyber scam operations stealing billions of dollars from victims around the world have become widespread, but what was little known before the broadcast of this compelling investigation, was that thousands of those perpetrating these frauds are victims too.
101 East reveals how thousands of young men and women are locked up in vast compounds and forced to scam targets across the globe.
Using victim testimony, video footage, concealed court records, compound coordinates, citizenship records, photographs and company registrations, the investigation forensically maps an epidemic of fraud and slavery.
The IRE judges praised “Cambodia’s Cyber Slaves” for the scope of the issues it raises related to human trafficking.
“This is shocking reporting by a team that put themselves at extraordinary risk to get the story. ‘Cambodia’s Cyber Slaves’ exposed large-scale trafficking, torture, and enslavement inside the country’s massive scam industry, which is connected to the highest levels of government. The breadth of the reporting effort was also a key differentiator along with the widespread ramifications and far-reaching impact,” they said.
Al Jazeera English Senior Correspondent Mary Ann Jolley thanked the IRE judges.
“It is a true honour to be recognised with such a prestigious award for what was a very important investigation uncovering widespread criminality and human rights abuses.”
101 East producer David Boyle said he hoped the IRE Award would help maintain a media spotlight on the ongoing situation.
“Sadly, despite a number of victims being freed, these criminal networks continue to ply their predatory trade. It’s important we don’t avert our gaze,” he said.
The IRE Awards is the annual contest of Investigative Reporters and Editors, recognising the best in investigative reporting by print, broadcast and online media.