/vietnam-city-o-phap-ban-ngay-nau-an-dem

  • #Camion_de_la_honte : les 39 victimes sont chinoises

    L’enquête semble se diriger vers un nouveau drame d’esclavage moderne, avec la révélation de la nationalité chinoise des 39 victimes, 8 femmes et 31 hommes.

    Ils n’ont pas encore de noms, d’âge et encore moins de sépultures. Mais on sait déjà que leur voyage cauchemardesque a commencé loin, très loin, à l’autre bout du monde. Les 39 personnes retrouvées sans vie dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi dans le conteneur d’un camion réfrigéré sur une zone industrielle de l’Essex, à l’est de l’Angleterre, venaient de Chine. Il y avait 8 femmes, dont une très jeune adulte, et 31 hommes, a confirmé jeudi la police d’Essex.

    L’ambassade de Chine au Royaume-Uni a immédiatement réagi. « C’est avec un cœur lourd que nous lisons ces informations », a tweeté un porte-parole en indiquant « travailler avec la police pour éclaircir et confirmer la situation ». Ce n’est pas la première fois, sans doute pas la dernière, que des Chinois sont les victimes d’un drame de l’esclavage moderne au Royaume-Uni, les otages de gangs ultra-organisés, aux ramifications mondiales, des triades chinoises aux réseaux criminels d’Europe centrale et à ceux d’Europe occidentale. Ces criminels vendent, très cher et sans scrupule, la promesse d’un eldorado qui n’existe pas.

    L’enquête le confirmera, mais la National Crime Agency (NCA), qui travaille en coordination avec la police de l’Essex et celle d’Irlande du Nord d’où est originaire le chauffeur du camion, a indiqué chercher à identifier « des groupes de crime organisé qui pourraient avoir joué un rôle » dans cette tragédie. La garde à vue du chauffeur, un homme de 25 ans, a été prolongée de vingt-quatre heures et des perquisitions étaient en cours dans trois résidences en Irlande du Nord, dans le comté d’Armagh. Selon le Daily Mail, qui cite un proche, le jeune homme aurait lui-même prévenu les secours après avoir ouvert l’arrière du camion pour y récupérer des papiers. La police n’a pas confirmé ces informations.
    En 2000, 58 Chinois retrouvés morts dans un camion

    Le 18 juin 2000 déjà, 58 Chinois avaient été retrouvés morts asphyxiés à l’arrière d’un camion, dans le port de Douvres. Seules 2 personnes avaient survécu. Grâce à elles, le périple infernal des victimes avait été retracé. Partis de la province chinoise de Fujian, sur le littoral du sud-est de la Chine, en face de l’île de Taiwan, ils avaient pris un avion depuis Pékin, avec leurs passeports légaux, jusqu’à Belgrade en Yougoslavie.

    Des passeports volés, coréens pour la plupart, leur avaient alors été fournis. De Belgrade, ils avaient été acheminés par petits groupes dans des camionnettes vers la Hongrie, puis l’Autriche et la France. De là, ils avaient pris un train vers les Pays-Bas où ils avaient été « cueillis » par la branche européenne du gang de trafiquants, à Rotterdam. Enfermés à 60 dans un camion, dont le sas de ventilation avait été fermé, avec seulement quatre seaux d’eau, ils étaient morts étouffés lors de la traversée de Zeebruges en Belgique à Douvres. Le chauffeur, un Néerlandais, et une interprète chinoise, le contact des immigrés au Royaume-Uni, avaient été condamnés respectivement à seize et six ans de prison.
    « On coule »

    C’est aussi de la province de Fujian que venaient la plupart des 23 immigrés illégaux chinois, retrouvés noyés quatre ans plus tard, le 5 février 2004, dans la baie de Morecambe, dans le Lincolnshire (nord-ouest de l’Angleterre). Ils avaient été embauchés pour pêcher à marée basse des coques. Payés la misérable somme de 5 pounds (6 euros) pour 25 kg de coquillages. Cette baie est immense, sujette à de grands mouvements de marée. Les Chinois ne parlaient pas ou très peu anglais, ne connaissaient pas le coin, le danger de l’eau montante.

    C’était l’hiver, ils étaient à pied d’œuvre dans la soirée, dans l’obscurité. Un pêcheur chinois avait donné l’alerte en appelant les secours sur son téléphone portable et en criant, dans un anglais approximatif : « On coule, on coule dans l’eau, beaucoup, beaucoup, on coule dans l’eau. » 23 personnes s’étaient noyées. Le crâne d’une femme avait été rejeté sur la plage six ans plus tard. Le corps d’une des victimes n’a jamais été retrouvé.

    Un seul homme, Li Hua, a survécu. Dix ans plus tard, en 2014, il se confiait à la BBC. « Il faisait un noir d’encre et j’étais terrifié. Je me suis dit que je n’avais plus qu’à me laisser mourir et puis, je ne sais pas, une vague m’a retourné… J’étais seul et soudain, un hélicoptère m’a repéré. » Son témoignage avait permis la condamnation d’un trafiquant, Lin Liang Ren, à quatorze ans de prison. Pour éviter toutes représailles, Li Hua avait été placé sous la protection spéciale du gouvernement britannique. « Nous sommes tous venus ici pour la même raison. Nous avons laissé derrière nous nos familles pour construire une vie meilleure. Et tous ont disparu d’un coup, juste comme ça. J’ai juste eu de la chance. »
    L’identification de chacun « pourrait prendre du temps »

    Jeudi en milieu de journée, le camion et ses 39 victimes étaient dissimulés dans un hangar du port de Tilbury Docks, à quelques centaines de mètres de là où le conteneur a été débarqué mardi dans la nuit en provenance de Zeebruges. Les autorités belges ont précisé que le conteneur était arrivé dans le port ce même mardi, à 14h29, avant d’être embarqué sur un ferry dans la soirée. Pour le moment, les enquêteurs ne savent pas à quel moment, ni où exactement les victimes ont été enfermées dans le conteneur.

    A l’abri des regards, les médecins légistes ont entrepris la lourde tâche d’examiner les corps un à un pour déterminer les causes du décès. Ensuite, les autorités tenteront « d’établir l’identité de chacun, une opération qui pourrait prendre du temps », a précisé la police. Alors, ces âmes auront peut-être enfin un nom, un visage et quelqu’un pour les pleurer, loin très loin de ce triste hangar.

    https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2019/10/24/camion-de-la-honte-les-39-victimes-sont-chinoises_1759507

    –-> On sait depuis que probablement les victimes ne sont pas chinoises, mais vietnamiennes...

    #UK #Angleterre #Essex #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Manche #La_Manche #22_octobre_2019 #camion #décès #morts #mourir_dans_la_forteresse_Europe

    • #Pham_Thi_Trà_My

      “Mi dispiace mamma. Il mio viaggio all’estero non è riuscito. Mamma ti voglio tanto bene!
      Sto morendo perché non riesco a respirare …
      Vengo da Nghen, Can Loc, Ha Tinh, Vietnam …
      Mi dispiace, mamma.”

      Questo è l’ultimo, straziante, SMS che una ragazza ventiseienne vietnamita, di nome Pham Thi Trà My ha inviato, presumibilmente dall’interno del TIR dell’orrore, martedì scorso, 22 Ottobre 2019.

      Un messaggio carico di disperazione, un ultimo pensiero per la persona a lei più cara, la mamma.

      La sua mamma.

      E’ drammatico questo messaggio, perché ci fa comprendere che quei 39 migranti asiatici hanno sentito giungere la loro morte; ne hanno sofferto; hanno pensato; hanno avuto tutto il tempo per comprendere che la loro fine si andava, inesorabilmente, avvicinando.

      E tutto questo è terribile. Terribile. Terribile.

      Non sopporto più questa disumanità, non sopporto chi continua a dire aiutiamoli a casa loro, non sopporto chi continua a gioire (ma come cazzo si fa a gioire?) di questi tragici eventi.

      Io, lo dico francamente, sto imparando ad odiare!

      Ad odiare voi indifferenti, voi complici, voi misera gente che vi girate dall’altra parte.

      Ci state riuscendo.

      State riuscendo a trasformarmi, piano piano.

      State riuscendo a trasmettermi il vostro odio ma, sappiate, lo utilizzerò solo contro voi.

      Contro voi che pensate di essere gli unici ad avere diritto alla vita e spero, per questo, un giorno siate puniti!

      Perdonaci, se puoi, Pham Thi Trà My…


      https://eliminiamolapostrofo.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/pham-thi-tra-my
      #migrants_vietnamiens #Vietnam #22_octobre_2019

    • Essex lorry deaths: Vietnamese families fear relatives among dead

      At least six of the 39 people found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex may have been from Vietnam.

      The BBC knows of six Vietnamese families who fear their relatives are among the victims.

      They include Pham Thi Tra My, 26, who has not been heard from since she sent text messages on Tuesday saying she could not breathe.

      A man was earlier arrested at Stansted Airport on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

      The 48-year-old from Northern Ireland is the fourth person to be arrested in connection with the investigation.

      Two people from Warrington are being held on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people and the lorry driver is in custody on suspicion of murder.

      Ms Tra My’s brother, Pham Ngoc Tuan, said some of the £30,000 charge for getting his sister to the UK had been paid to people smugglers and her last-known location had been Belgium.

      The smugglers are understood to have returned money to some families.

      Meanwhile, relatives of Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20, have also said they fear he is among the 39 victims.

      Ms Tra My’s brother told the BBC: "My sister went missing on 23 October on the way from Vietnam to the UK and we couldn’t contact her. We are concerned she may be in that trailer.

      “We are asking the British police to help investigate so that my sister can be returned to the family.”

      The last message received from Ms Tra My was at 22:30 BST on Tuesday - two hours before the trailer arrived at the Purfleet terminal from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

      Her family have shared texts she sent to her parents which translated read: "I am really, really sorry, Mum and Dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed.

      “I am dying, I can’t breathe. I love you very much Mum and Dad. I am sorry, Mother.”

      Ms Tra My’s brother told the BBC her journey to the UK had begun on 3 October. She had told the family not to contact her because “the organisers” did not allow her to receive calls.

      “She flew to China and stayed there for a couple days, then left for France,” he said.

      “She called us when she reached each destination. The first attempt she made to cross the border to the UK was 19 October, but she got caught and turned back. I don’t know for sure from which port.”

      The BBC has passed details of Ms Tra My, who is from Nghen town in Can Loc district of Ha Tinh province area of Vietnam, to Essex Police, along with details of other people claiming to have information.

      The BBC also knows of two other Vietnamese nationals who are missing - a 26-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman.

      The brother of the 19-year-old said his sister called him at 07:20 Belgian local time (06:20 BST) on Tuesday, saying she was getting into a container and was turning off her phone to avoid detection.

      He has not heard from her since.

      He said a people smuggler returned money to the family overnight, and the family of the 26-year-old who she was travelling with also received money back.

      A spokesman from the Vietnamese Embassy in London confirmed they had been in contact with Essex police since Thursday.

      They said Vietnamese families had appealed to them for help finding out if their relatives were among the victims but added they had not yet received any official confirmation.

      The victims of the trailer were 31 men and eight women and Essex Police initially said they were all believed to be Chinese.

      They were found at an industrial estate in Grays at 01:40 BST on Wednesday.

      At a press conference on Friday evening Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said the force was working with the National Crime Agency, the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement.

      She said she would not be drawn on any further detail about the nationalities of the victims until formal identification processes had taken place.

      “We gave an initial steer on Thursday on nationality, however, this is now a developing picture,” she said.

      Police have confirmed the scene at Waterglade Industrial Estate in Eastern Avenue was closed on Friday.

      Essex Police also urged anyone fearing their loved ones may have been in the lorry to get in touch.

      “I can’t begin to comprehend what some of you must be going through right now. You have my assurance that Essex Police will be working tirelessly to understand the whole picture to this absolute tragedy,” said Det Ch Con Mills.

      She also urged anyone living illegally in the UK who may have information to come forward, without fear of criminal action being taken against them.

      GPS data shows the refrigerated container trailer crossed back and forth between the UK and Europe in the days before it was found.

      It was leased from the company Global Trailer Rentals on 15 October. The company said it was “entirely unaware that the trailer was to be used in the manner in which it appears to have been”.

      Essex Police said the tractor unit (the front part of the lorry) had entered the UK via Holyhead - an Irish Sea port in Wales - on Sunday 20 October, having travelled over from Dublin.

      Police believe the tractor unit collected the trailer in Purfleet on the River Thames and left the port shortly after 01:05 on Thursday. Police were called to the industrial park where the bodies were discovered about half an hour later.

      Temperatures in refrigerated units can be as low as -25C (-13F). The lorry now is at a secure site in Essex.

      A spokesman for the UN International Organization for Migration said the discovery of bodies in Essex did not necessarily indicate a major shift in migration patterns.

      “These are the kind of random crimes that occur every day in the world somewhere,” he said. “They get huge attention when they do but they don’t necessarily indicate a big shift in migration or patterns in any place in particular. It’s just the condition of what happens when this many people are engaging this many criminal groups to reach a destination, which of course we deplore.”

      Detectives are still questioning the lorry driver, Mo Robinson, of County Armagh in Northern Ireland, on suspicion of murder. He was arrested on Wednesday.

      Two other people were also earlier arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

      The man and woman, both 38, from Warrington, Cheshire, are also being held on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people.

      Police officers were seen at the couple’s home address in Warrington, with a police van and two squad cars parked outside.

      Sources say the GPS data shows it left Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland on 15 October before crossing over to Northern Ireland and then returning south to Dublin
      From Dublin, it crossed over to Holyhead in Wales overnight on 16 October
      That evening, it travelled to continental Europe from Dover to Calais in France
      Between 17 and 22 October, it moved between various cities in Belgium and France, including Dunkirk, Bruges and Lille
      On 22 October, it made its final crossing from #Zeebrugge to #Purfleet

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-50185788

    • *Essex lorry deaths: The Vietnamese risking it all to get to the

      UK*

      An hour’s drive inland from the French coast, a dozen Vietnamese men nurse tea over a smoking campfire, as they wait for a phone call from the man they call “the boss”. An Afghan man, they say, who opens trailers in the lorry-park nearby and shuts them inside.

      Duc paid €30,000 ($33,200; £25,000) for a prepaid journey from Vietnam to London - via Russia, Poland, Germany and France. It was organised, he says, by a Vietnamese contact back home.

      “I have some Vietnamese friends in UK, who will help me find jobs when I get there,” he told me. “These friends help me get on lorries or container trucks to go across the border.”

      Security is much less tight in the nearby lorry park than around the ports further north. But few people here have managed to get past the border controls.

      We were told there is a two-tier system in operation here; that those who pay more for their passage to Britain don’t have to chance their luck in the lorries outside, but use this base as a transit camp before being escorted on the final leg of their journey.

      A Vietnamese smuggler, interviewed by a French paper several years ago, reportedly described three levels of package. The top level allowed migrants to ride in the lorry cab and sleep in hotels. The lowest level was nicknamed “air”, or more cynically “CO2” - a reference to the lack of air in some trailers.

      A local volunteer in the camp told us that they’d seen Vietnamese and British men visiting migrants here in a Mercedes. And that once migrants arrived in the UK, some went to work in cannabis farms, after which all communication stopped.

      Duc tells me he needs a job in the UK to pay back the loan for his journey.

      “We can do anything,” he says, “construction work, nail bars, restaurants or other jobs.”

      A report by one of France’s biggest charities described smugglers telling Vietnamese migrants that refrigerated lorries gave them more chance of avoiding detection, and giving each of them an aluminium bag to put over their heads while passing through scanners at the border.

      No one here had heard about the 39 people found dead this week.

      This journey is about freedom, one said.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50190199

    • More Vietnamese families fear relatives are among the 39 UK truck victims

      Two Vietnamese families have said they are scared relatives may be among the dead. Both of the suspected victims come from Ha Tinh, an impoverished province where many of the country’s illegal migrants come from.

      More Vietnamese families came forward Saturday saying their relatives may be among the 39 people found dead in a container truck east of London.

      Police initially believed all victims were Chinese but later announced this may not be accurate and that investigations were still a “developing picture.”

      At least two Vietnamese families have now said they are worried their relatives, who may have been carrying falsified Chinese passports, are among the dead.

      The Vietnamese Embassy in London said Friday it contacted police about a missing woman believed to be one of the dead after a family in Vietnam informed them about their daughter who had been missing since the lorry was found.

      The Embassy said it was working with British authorities over the case, Vietnamese media reported.

      Up to 10 of the victims may have originally come from Vietnam, according to unconfirmed reports. The BBC reported it had been in contact with six Vietnamese families, all who believe their relatives are among the 39 victims found in Grays, Essex on Wednesday.

      Read more: Opinion: It’s time to end human trafficking

      ’Something unexpected happened’

      The father of a 20-year-old Vietnamese man said he is scared his son is among the dead. He told the Associated Press that he had not been able to reach his son Nguyen Dinh Luong since last week.

      “He often called home but I haven’t been able to reach him since the last time we talked last week,” Nguyen Dinh Gia said. “I told him that he could go to anywhere he wants as long as it’s safe. He shouldn’t be worry about money, I’ll take care of it.”

      Gia said his son left home in Ha Tinh province, central Vietnam, to work in Russia in 2017 then on to Ukraine. He arrived in Germany in April 2019 before making his way to France. He had been living in France illegally since 2018.

      The 20-year-old told his family he wanted to go to the United Kingdom (UK), and that he would pay £11,000 (€12,700). Last week, he told his father he wanted to join a group in Paris that was trying to enter England.

      Several days ago, his father received a call from a Vietnamese man saying, “Please have some some sympathy, something unexpected happened,” Gia told AFP.

      “I fell to the ground when I heard that,” Gia said. “It seemed that he was in the truck with the accident, all of them dead.”

      The family said they shared the information with Vietnamese authorities.

      Read more: Opinion: EU’s immigration policy is stuck in a rut

      ’I’m dying because I can’t breathe’

      Hoa Nghiem, a human rights activist from Vietnamese civic network, Human Rights Space, said on Friday one of the victims may have been 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My.

      Tra My had sent a text message to her mother saying she was struggling to breathe at around the same time as the truck was en route from Belgium to the UK.

      “I’m so sorry mom and dad....My journey abroad doesn’t succeed,” she wrote. “Mom, I love you and dad very much. I’m dying because I can’t breathe .... Mom, I’m so sorry,” she said in a message confirmed by her brother Pham Manh Cuong.

      Cuong had received a message from his sister on Wednesday saying, “Please try to work hard to pay the debt for mummy, my dear.”

      No confirmation

      Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing Friday in Beijing that Britain has not officially confirmed the identities or nationalities of the victims. She added that China is also working with Belgium police since the shipping container in which the bodies were found was sent from England to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

      “The police said that they were urgently carrying out the verification work and the identities of the victims cannot be confirmed at present,” said Tong Xuejun, a Chinese consular official in London.

      Both suspected victims come from the impoverished province of Ha Tinh where many of the country’s illegal migrants come from. Many who try to reach the UK end up working in nail salons or cannabis farms.

      https://www.dw.com/en/more-vietnamese-families-fear-relatives-are-among-the-39-uk-truck-victims/a-50997473

    • Vietnamese woman suspected killed in UK truck disaster

      A father has reported to Vietnamese authorities that his 26-year-old daughter may have been one of the 39 found dead in a container truck in England.

      #Pham_Van_Thin, of Can Loc District in the central Ha Tinh Province, sent a letter Friday to the People’s Committee of Nghen Town, saying his daughter was likely one of the 39 people found dead in a container truck in the Waterglade Industrial Park, Grays Town.

      “My daughter, Pham Thi Tra My, left Vietnam on October 3, 2019, then travelled to China, France and England,” Thin wrote in the letter, which had My’s photo attached. She was described as 1.5 meters tall and weighing around 46 kilograms.

      Thin asked the Nghen People’s Committee to verify that he is My’s father, in order to initiate legal procedures to identify and bring his daughter’s body back to Vietnam.

      At his home in Nghen Town, Thin’s family members confirmed that he had indeed submitted an application to the authorities to verify that My was missing, but refused to provide further information on her overseas travel.

      The Nghen Town People’s Committee has passed on Thin’s letter to the Can Loc District’s Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, which, in turn, will report to authorities with jurisdiction over the matter, said Bui Viet Hung, Vice Chairman of the committee.

      “Thin’s family has three children, of which My is the youngest. My had worked overseas in Japan for three years, and only last month completed procedures to go to China,” Hung said.

      A senior official of the Ha Tinh Provincial Department of Foreign Affairs, who did not wish to be named, said Friday afternoon that he had received a phone call from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Consular Department asking to verify the case of a Vietnamese worker from Ha Tinh Province suspected missing in the UK.

      The Ha Tinh Provincial Department of Foreign Affairs has contacted authorities of Can Loc District, where a person has allegedly been reported missing, to verify the information.

      According to an authorized source, My had used an emigration ring led by a resident of Nghe An Province to go to China. After getting there, she obtained forged Chinese citizenship documents and left for Europe.

      One of My’s relatives has reportedly contacted the Vietnamese Association in the U.K., a non-profit organization, to request their assistance in bringing her body home.

      In the early hours of Wednesday morning, U.K. emergency services discovered the bodies of 38 adults and one teenager, suspected immigrants, after being alerted that there were people in a refrigerated container truck at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex County, east of London.

      Staff of the Chinese Embassy in London have arrived at the scene to help police verify whether the victims were Chinese citizens.

      Three people, including truck driver, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter, the British police said on Friday, the first indication from officials that the deaths were linked to human smuggling.

      In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in a refrigerated truck in Dover, Britain’s busiest port. The authorities said they had asphyxiated in the container, in which cooling and ventilation were switched off.

      https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnamese-woman-suspected-killed-in-uk-truck-disaster-4002594.html


    • https://www.facebook.com/ndt105/posts/10218065950232006

      Traduction et commentaire d’une étudiante de mon master, vietnamienne :

      He said: "It is possible that all 39 “Chinese-like-people” who were suffocated in the car in the UK were Vietnamese. Even the majority of them are probably Nghe An-Ha Tinh by participating in a smuggling transfer service. If they send a message to their family, the family will pay about 1 billion VND (35.000£) for the Vietnamese smugglers. If they NEVER text again, it looks like family members get a refund for the deposit. A terrible contract."
      The photos are captured in a Facebook group for recruiting and supporting Vietnamese in a foreign country (maybe England, I’m not sure). People are posting information of their relatives who left at the same time with the lorry and didn’t contact anymore. All of them were born in 1999, 2000 and from Ha Tinh, Nghe Anh (2 poor cities in the center of Vietnam). The last photo is a message of a woman saying that she has people in contact with the invesgators and there are already 20 people identified as Vietnamese.

    • Majority of 39 UK truck victims likely from Vietnam - priest

      YEN THANH, Vietnam (Reuters) - The majority of the 39 people found dead in the back of a truck near London were likely from Vietnam, a community leader from the rural, rice-growing community where many of the victims are believed to have come from told Reuters on Saturday.

      The discovery of the bodies - 38 adults and one teenager - was made on Wednesday after emergency services were alerted to people in a truck container on an industrial site in Grays, about 32km (20 miles) east of central London.

      Police have said they believe the dead were Chinese but Beijing said the nationalities had not yet been confirmed. Chinese and Vietnamese officials are now both working closely with British police, their respective embassies have said.

      Father Anthony Dang Huu Nam, a catholic priest in the remote town of Yen Thanh in northern-central Vietnam’s Nghe An province, 300km (180 miles) south of Hanoi, said he was liaising with family members of the victims.

      “The whole district is covered in sorrow,” Nam said, as prayers for the dead rang out over loudspeakers throughout the misty, rain-soaked town on Saturday.

      “I’m still collecting contact details for all the victim’s families, and will hold a ceremony to pray for them tonight.”

      “This is a catastrophe for our community.”

      Nam said families told him they knew relatives were travelling to the UK at the time and had been unable to contact their loved ones.

      Vietnam’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday that it had instructed its London embassy to assist British police with the identification of victims.

      The ministry did not respond to a request for further comment regarding the nationalities of the dead.

      Essex Police declined to elaborate as to how they first identified the dead as Chinese.
      ‘BEAUTIFUL DAY’

      In Yen Thanh, Nghe An province, dozens of worried relatives of 19-year-old Bui Thi Nhung gathered in the family’s small courtyard home where her worried mother has been unable to rise from her bed.

      “She said she was in France and on the way to the UK, where she has friends and relatives,” said Nhung’s cousin, Hoang Thi Linh.

      “We are waiting and hoping it’s not her among the victims, but it’s very likely. We pray for her everyday. There were two people from my village travelling in that group”.

      In comments under a photo uploaded to Nhung’s Facebook account on Monday, two days before the doomed truck was discovered, one friend asked how her journey was going.

      “Not good,” Nhung replied. “Almost spring,” she said, using a term in Vietnamese meaning she had almost reached her destination.

      Other photos on her account show her sightseeing in Brussels on Oct. 18.

      “Such a beautiful day,” Nhung posted.

      Nghe An is one of Vietnam’s poorest provinces, and home to many victims of human trafficking who end up in Europe, according to a March report by the Pacific Links Foundation, a U.S.-based anti-trafficking organisation.

      Other victims are believed to come from the neighbouring province of Ha Tinh, Nam said, where in the first eight months of this year, 41,790 people left looking for work elsewhere, including overseas, according to state media.

      The province was ravaged by one of Vietnam’s worst environmental disasters in 2016 when a steel mill owned by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics contaminated coastal waters, devastating local fishing and tourism industries and sparking widespread protests.

      Another suspected victim from Ha Tinh, 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My, had sent a text message to her mother saying she could not breathe at about the time the truck container was en route from Belgium to Britain.

      “That girl who said in her message that she couldn’t breathe in the truck? Her parents can’t breathe here at home,” Nam said.

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-bodies/majority-of-39-uk-truck-victims-likely-from-vietnam-priest-idUKKBN1X503M

    • « Désolée maman, je suis en train de mourir, je ne peux plus respirer » : les SMS déchirants d’une jeune victime à l’agonie dans le camion de l’Essex

      La jeune vietnamienne Pham Thi Tra My, 26 ans, avait parcouru la Chine puis la France dans ses tentatives pour atteindre la Grande Bretagne. Son périple se terminera dans le camion de Mo Robinson, comme celui de 38 autres ressortissants asiatiques.


      https://www.sudinfo.be/id148457/article/2019-10-25/desolee-maman-je-suis-en-train-de-mourir-je-ne-peux-plus-respirer-les-sms

    • UK police: man arrested in Ireland is of interest in truck death investigation

      British police said a man arrested in Dublin on Saturday is a person of interest in their investigation into the deaths of 39 people who were found in a truck container.

      “A man arrested by the Garda at Dublin Port on Saturday 26 October is a person of interest in our murder investigation regarding the 39 people found dead in a lorry in Purfleet on Wednesday 23 October,” Essex Police said.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-bodies-ireland-idUSKBN1X70FX

    • The 39 people who died in the lorry were victims. Why does the law treat them as criminals?

      As long as the justice system is focused on immigration status, not on ending modern-day slavery, desperate people will suffer.

      What leads someone down the route where they find themselves locked into the back of a lorry, a beating heart in a metal box? What choices – or lack of them – have led someone to be reduced to a piece of human cargo? Can anyone who read the story of the 39 bodies found in the back of a lorry last week not feel the visceral terror of that cold, dark death and wonder at how we live in a world where a business model exists that thrives off this level of human desperation?

      At the moment it is unclear whether this tragedy is the work of smuggling gangs – who are in a transactional arrangement with the people they are moving from place to place – or human traffickers, who are exploiting and profiting from their human cargo. In the end, does it even matter? Both are looking to profit from the very human desire to not only survive but to thrive. Across the world, trafficking and smuggling gangs are flogging promises and dreams and then using fear – of pain, of the authorities, of their debts, of their failure – to make vast amounts of money in the knowledge that they’re unlikely to get caught, and in the certainty that their victims are expendable.

      One Vietnamese teenager I interviewed last year had, like last week’s victims, crossed the Channel in the back of a lorry. He described the experience to me: the pain of the jolting metal that tore into his skin; the stench of other silent bodies he was pressed up against; the poisonous diesel fumes; and the hunger and thirst that gnawed at his insides.

      His journey towards that point had begun with a childhood of crippling and monotonous poverty and the belief that the only way to escape and honour his filial responsibility to provide for his parents was to follow the promise of work in the UK. He embarked on an overland journey across Europe where he was smuggled from safe house to safe house, fell under the control of criminal gangs and was raped, beaten and brutalised. By the time he reached France, he was told he had to pay back £20,000 – an amount he couldn’t even comprehend. His parents would be the ones who would suffer if he didn’t pay them back.

      By his point his life was not in his hands. A chain of events had been set in motion that he had no control over. There was no way back: his only future was one where his sole reason for survival was to pay off his debts. He ended up being trafficked into a cannabis farm in Derbyshire.

      In the eyes of the law there is a distinction between illegal work and modern slavery – with the former you are a criminal, and the latter a victim – but in reality the line is not so clearly defined. Many who are here to work move between the two. Across the UK, thousands end up being exploited and unpaid in our restaurants, car washes, agricultural fields, care homes, hotels and nail bars – visible but unseen.

      Official statistics say up to 15,000 people are trapped in a form of modern slavery in the UK – although those working on the frontline believe this figure to be a huge underestimate. Our government says that with the 2015 Modern Slavery Act it is a global leader in cracking down on this practice, yet prosecutions remain low. In 2017-18 there were only 185 convictions for slavery and trafficking crimes – a fraction of the cases reported to the authorities.

      Crucially, prosecutions require victims to come forward and testify. Yet their immigration status is often considered more of a priority than their exploitation. Traffickers tell their victims if they go to the police they will be arrested and detained, and more often than not they’re right. Recent research found over 500 victims of trafficking were arrested and sent to immigration detention centres last year. Even though police guidance tells officers how to identify cases of modern slavery, Vietnamese children found in nail bars or cannabis farms are still routinely arrested, charged and detained.

      Even those who are recognised as victims of trafficking by the authorities are in for a rough ride. The government’s national referral mechanism, the framework for identifying and protecting victims of slavery, is sometimes considered by victims to be as traumatising as their trafficking. They can find themselves trapped in a legal limbo in a complex and under-resourced system for years at a time. And in the end victims are probably going to be removed back to the country where they were trafficked: according to the government’s own figures only 12% of victims of slavery are granted discretionary leave to remain.

      All of this matters because it creates an environment in which the business of exploiting the desperation of human beings can thrive. Where the gangs know that British people will pay £8 in cash for a pedicure, or to get our car hand washed, without thinking too much about why. It’s a business model where people can be exploited for profit over and over again with the near certainty that in the end it will be the victim who the system comes down upon, for making the journey in the first place.

      In 2004 the death of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay was a moment of reckoning – a human tragedy that, for many people, raised the spectre of modern slavery in the UK for the first time. Today, 15 years later, maybe these 39 deaths might do the same and remind us that our only chance of beating the business in flogging human lives is to try to understand how people come to be locked inside the backs of lorries in the first place.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/29/39-people-lorry-victims-law-criminals-immigration-slavery?CMP=share_btn

    • En route vers le Royaume-Uni, enquête de terrain auprès des migrants vietnamiens

      #France_terre_d'asile a réalisé une enquête de terrain auprès des migrants vietnamiens en transit dans le département du Pas-de-Calais, dans le cadre du projet d’aide aux victimes de traite des êtres humains mené par l’association.

      L’étude analyse les parcours migratoires de ces migrants, les raisons de leur départ, leurs profils, leurs relations avec les réseaux de passeurs, les moyens d’emprise et de coercition exercés sur eux et leurs besoins afin d’améliorer leur accompagnement en France et en Europe.

      https://www.france-terre-asile.org/toutes-nos-publications/details/1/209-en-route-vers-le-royaume-uni,-enqu%C3%AAte-de-terrain-aupr%C
      #rapport

    • Precarious journeys: Mapping vulnerabilities of victims of trafficking from Vietnam to Europe

      New research by ECPAT UK, Anti-Slavery International and Pacific Links Foundation traces the journeys made by Vietnamese children and adults migrating irregularly from Vietnam to the UK via Europe. The report, Precarious Journeys: Mapping Vulnerabilities of Victims of Trafficking from Vietnam to Europe, finds that the governments of countries on key trafficking routes routinely fail to protect Vietnamese children from trafficking, leaving them vulnerable to continued exploitation and abuse.


      https://www.ecpat.org.uk/precarious-journeys

    • Vietnamese migrants are not ‘lured’ by traffickers. They just want a better future

      The risks are known and won’t deter people. There will be more deaths in lorries unless Britain changes its immigration policy.

      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/05ed4f7268ba39f63a3d283434f6a7c153c96150/0_0_3600_2160/master/3600.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=479e7dd01a75bb999e8d74

      Thirty-nine bodies found in the back of a refrigerated lorry in an Essex industrial park. Apart from shock and rage, this tragic news feels like deja vu. Almost two decades ago, in 2000, 58 Chinese people were found suffocated to death in Dover, in similar horrific circumstances. Those men and women banged on doors and screamed for their lives, the only two survivors revealed. The tragic deaths left families behind and communities back in Fujian province devastated.

      Today, many of the 39 people, eight women and 31 men, are believed to have come from Vietnam, as families there desperately look for their missing loved ones.
      The 39 people who died in the lorry were victims. Why does the law treat them as criminals?
      Annie Kelly
      Read more

      I also felt deja vu listening to the response from British politicians and media. “Stop evil human traffickers”; “Stop international criminal networks”. I heard such phrases two decades ago from the home secretary, Jack Straw, and today his successor, Priti Patel, repeats the sentiment. While formal identification of the victims continues, Vietnamese people have mostly been portrayed as “unaware” trafficking victims sent to fill the nail bars and cannabis factories – as having no agency of their own and no control over their migratory decisions.

      In reality, the Vietnamese young men and women who choose to travel on these dangerous routes only do so when they cannot come to Britain in formal ways. Having no alternatives, they contact “snakeheads” (smugglers), who are often perceived as “migration brokers” rather than criminals, who organise their transportation to Britain.

      It appears that many of the 39 people may have come from the Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces of Vietnam, which have been hit by economic reforms. Three decades ago, in 1986, the Vietnamese government launched the Doi Moi economic reforms, which aimed to facilitate a transition from a centralised planning to a “socialist-oriented” market economy. From the 1990s onwards, the government boasted of Vietnam’s rise in GDP – what was not said was that the growth was built upon the low-cost labour of millions of Vietnamese, toiling in processing factories and assembling products for overseas companies. The inflow of foreign investment has been a big part of Vietnam’s economic liberalisation. In recent years, it has brought cash to the high-tech processing, manufacturing, agriculture, education and healthcare sectors. Since the start of this year, Vietnam has attracted foreign direct investment of more than $1.1bn (£850m), China alone bringing in $222m.

      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/0437ed70716e77799c71a362955e1e1ce116355b/0_175_5568_3341/master/5568.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=97d294bd0eb6ec60a2715d

      Many of these changes have not been popular: large waves of anti-China protests happened in May 2014, in Ha Tinh and other places. And in 2018 there was popular opposition to legislation enabling special economic zones to grant land leases to foreign businesses for up to 99 years.

      In 2016 Ha Tinh was also the site of the country’s worst environmental disaster, caused by a chemical spill from a steel factory, owned by a Taiwanese company, Formosa Plastics, that poisoned up to 125 miles of the northern coastline and ruined the fishing industry. Formosa Plastics was fined $500m by the Vietnamese government, but much of the compensation did not reach the affected fishermen.

      The low labour cost in these provinces is the main attraction for Chinese and other foreign investors. For instance, a factory worker here earns around two-thirds of what a similar worker earns in China, and half the local population are under the age of 30.

      Rather than wealth, foreign investment has brought mainly dead-end, low-paid jobs with few long-term prospects for young locals. The average wage in Vietnam is around $150 a month; in these provinces many don’t even earn that. Besides, unemployment is severe. Last year, GDP per capita in both Nhge An ($1,600) and Ha Tinh ($2,200) fell below the national average of $2,500. This is the context compelling tens of thousands of Vietnamese from these impoverished provinces to choose to migrate, to seek livelihoods for themselves and their families.

      Families often depend on sons and daughters to find their way into advanced capitalist countries in the west, to work and be the breadwinners. Remittances from abroad also help sustain communities – Nghe An, for instance, brought in $225m a year, according to official estimates.

      The 39 people were not “unthinking migrants” lured by traffickers, as the media has suggested. They were fighting for a future for their families, and lost their precious lives as Britain firmly kept its doors locked shut.

      If the tragic deaths of these men and women truly sadden you, the best thing to do is oppose Britain’s anti-migrant policies. We need to dismantle the false categories of “economic migrants” and “genuine refugees”. Let our fellow human beings have the opportunity to live and work in the open – that is the only way forward.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/30/vietnamese-migrants-traffickers-deaths-lorries-britain-immigration-poli

    • Essex lorry deaths should be wake-up call for ministers, MPs say

      Policies focused on closing borders counterproductive, says foreign affairs committee

      The deaths of 39 people found in the back of a lorry in Essex should be wake-up call for the government to rethink its approach to migration, MPs have said.

      Policies focused on closing borders will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes and push them into the hands of smugglers, the foreign affairs select committee says in a new report.

      The human cost of irregular migration made international partnerships essential, including with the EU, the committee said.

      The report comes just over a week after 39 people, now understood to be Vietnamese nationals, were found dead in the back of a lorry that had arrived in the UK via the port of Zeebrugge.

      The driver, Maurice Robinson, has been charged with manslaughter and trafficking offences, and a police investigation into a suspected wider trafficking network continues.

      Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the influential committee, said that until the UK left the EU it should continue to attend EU meetings on migration.

      “The case of 39 people found dead in a lorry in Essex shocked us all. The full story won’t be clear for some time but this tragedy is not alone,” he said.

      “Today, hundreds of families across the world are losing loved ones who felt driven to take the fatal gamble to entrust their lives to smugglers. This case should serve as a wake-up call to the Foreign Office and to government.

      “The UK has been relatively isolated from the different migrant crises in recent years, but it’s wrong to assume that we are protected from their impact. The UK has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution and cooperating with others to protect human rights. We should lead by example.”

      The report also raised concern that deals with countries such as Libya, Niger and Sudan to limit migration risked fuelling human rights abuses.

      It said such deals could be used as leverage by partner governments, as the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had done recently when he threatened to “reopen the gates”.

      The committee also said the fact that the Home Office was responsible for the UK’s response to irregular migration could lead to the “error of focusing on preventing migration to the exclusion of other goals such as preventing conflict and promoting stability and respect for fundamental human rights”.

      It called for more effort to negotiate future close cooperation on migration policy with the EU and an immediate return of UK officials to EU-level meetings where irregular migration is discussed.

      Other recommendations included the expansion of legal pathways to apply for asylum outside Europe and robust monitoring and safeguards to ensure UK funding for migration programmes in Libya did not contribute to human rights abuses.

      Tugendhat said the committee’s inquiry had been cut short by the “uncertain nature of parliamentary business”, but that it hoped to return to the issues in the future.

      Irregular migration is defined by the International Organization for Migration as the “movement of persons that takes place outside the laws, regulations, or international agreements governing the entry into or exit from the state of origin, transit or destination”.

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/04/essex-lorry-deaths-should-be-wake-up-call-for-ministers-mps-say?CMP=Sha

    • France: Dozens of migrants found in back of truck near Italian border

      The truck had been carrying 31 people, reportedly from Pakistan, when it was inspected by authorities in southern France. The latest discovery comes after dozens of migrants were found dead in a truck near London.

      Officers carrying out a routine traffic check in southern France uncovered dozens of migrants in the back of a truck on Saturday, the public prosecutor’s office in Nice said.

      Some 31 people, including three unaccompanied minors, were found in the truck during a vehicle spot-check at a toll booth near La Turbie, near the border with Italy.

      Prosecutors said that all 31 people on board were Pakistani nationals. The driver of the truck, who is also from Pakistan, was arrested by French authorities.

      The migrants were handed over to Italian authorities, the Nice-Matin newspaper reported.

      Prosecutors will now try to determine whether a human smuggling ring is behind the operation. Should that prove not to be the case, the driver of the truck will be charged with aiding and abetting illegal immigration, news agency AFP reported.

      Concerns after UK migrant truck deaths

      The discovery comes just days after French authorities in the northern port city of Calais pulled over a refrigerated truck carrying eight migrants. All those inside the truck, including four children, were taken to the hospital after exhibiting signs of hypothermia.

      Border control agencies have been on high alert following the deaths of 39 migrants in the UK on October 23.

      The migrants, who were determined to be Vietnamese nationals, had also been transported in a refrigerated truck when the vehicle was found east of London.

      The alleged driver of the truck, a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland, has already been charged over the deaths. He faces 39 counts of manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses.

      https://www.dw.com/en/france-dozens-of-migrants-found-in-back-of-truck-near-italian-border/a-51094985
      #ceux_qui_restent #vidéo #celles_qui_restent

    • #Spare_me_the_tears - Britain would have treated the Vietnamese nationals as criminals if they had not died in the lorry

      Had the police found the desperate migrants in the back of the truck they would have been arrested and deported

      I waited a while before writing this column. The deferral was out of respect for the dead, grieving relatives and the shocked Essex officers who discovered the bodies.

      But now it is time for uncomfortable, troublesome, questions: What if those thirty nine Vietnamese migrants found in the back of truck had been discovered still alive?

      Would the tabloids have published those tender pictures of young victims, smiling, buoyant, sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, nieces and nephews, fathers and mothers?

      Would Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have been as compassionate as they have been?

      Would nationalist Brits have held back from their usual bellyaches about ‘uncontrolled migration’? Let’s not belabour the obvious. We know the answers.

      It is believed that all of those who were found were Vietnamese. On Saturday, around one hundred people attended the service at the Church of the Holy Name and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in east London.

      The Reverend Simon Nguyen remembered the 39 who were ‘seeking freedom, dignity and happiness’. Such a low attendance is indicative. The victims are only numbers in the current news cycle.

      In 2000 when 58 bodies of Chinese migrants were found in the back of a lorry in Dover, some of us journalists and concerned actors such as Corin Redgrave and Frances de la Tour organised a vigil near Downing St. We wanted to remind people that behind the numbers were names, individual, special lives.

      Nothing has been learnt since then. One Vietnamese contact tells me her people are now petrified: ‘Police will come to ask us questions maybe. We know nothing. We are the children of the boat people. Mrs Thatcher asked them to come during the war. Now we are afraid again’.

      Thatcher did indeed invite these migrants to settle in Britain and made sure that the tabloids ran their arrival as a good news story. It was a strategic move, her way of winning the PR battle against Vietnamese communists.

      The refugees were welcomed and helped to settle. That was the only time I praised the iron lady. No Tory PM would dare to be that bold today.

      In the UK, Australia, the US, many eastern European and EU nations too, most citizens and politicians feel for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants only when they perish at sea or in airless, light-less vehicles.

      Alive they are a pestilence, dead they become pitiful innocents preyed on by traffickers. There are of course kind and generous people too, who do what they can, for the global wanderers desperately seeking a better life. But millions of others can only raise sympathy for bodies and really get exercised about the crimes, not the victims.

      Journalists, politicians and commentators are now well into the whodunnit, madly exhilarating murder mystery, identifying the traffickers, the arrests and extraditions. They are sniffing around for other ploys that could be being used by criminal people smugglers.

      A Times investigation this week revealed that at least 15 pupils from Vietnam had vanished after enrolling at private schools. Apparently, this is something that the Human Trafficking Foundation is worried about too.

      It fell upon Catherine Baker, the senior campaigns officer at Every Child Protected Against Trafficking to challenge the narrative: ‘ Victims are often criminalised instead of being protected and a hostile environment for people in the UK without immigration status makes those still trapped in exploitative situations nervous to seek help’.

      Mercy is in short supply at the Home Office and Ms Patel, utterly benighted and scarily ideological, wants officials to get even tougher because she thinks suffering helps to deter others.

      Charities are raising concerns about some devious new tactics being used by the Home office to catch and repatriate undocumented men and women.

      Rapar, a Manchester based human rights charity has just discovered that minority community groups are being co-opted and paid thousands of pounds to help find and expel illegal migrants.

      Fizza Qureshi, co-chief executive of the Migrants Rights Networks rightly warns that ‘these kinds of practices destroy trust within and between communities. It will leave many marginalised people wondering who they can turn to and trust in their time of need’.

      Had the police found the distressed 39 in the back of the truck before they expired, they would all have been treated as criminals, interrogated, detained in abominable centres and sent back.

      Few legal options are available to them. People will keep on trying and these inconvenient truths will continue to be avoided by Britain and other receiving nations.

      And so the tragedies will go on.

      https://inews.co.uk/opinion/uk-would-have-treated-vietnamese-migrants-as-criminals-if-they-had-lived-82

    • Grieve the Essex 39, but recognise the root causes

      In the wake of the deaths of 39 migrants in a lorry container, daikon*’s Kay Stephens writes on the global structures of capitalism and imperialism and the deadly border regimes that led to their deaths.

      On 24 October, daikon*, a group of anti-racist creatives of east and south east Asian descent, organised a vigil outside the Home Office with SOAS Detainee Support and members of the Chinese community to grieve for the 39 people found dead in a truck container in Essex – 39 people who died horrific deaths in miserable conditions in a desperate attempt to reach the UK.

      These deaths are no accident, but the direct result of global structures of capitalism and imperialism that marginalise, if not violently exclude, working-class undocumented migrants and people of colour. The mainstream’s response – calling for harsher borders, criminal justice for ‘greedy and unscrupulous’ traffickers and safe passage for ‘genuine’ refugees –fails to interrogate the global conditions that lead people to risk dangerous travel, and the deadly effects of border controls on all migrants.

      The global context

      Although initially identified as Chinese nationals, news is emerging that the majority of victims were from the neighbouring Vietnamese provinces of Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh, both amongst the poorest regions in the country. In 2016, Hà Tĩnh suffered a water pollution disaster affecting over 200km of coastline, resulting in at least 70 tonnes of dead fish washing up on local shores. It was found that the Hà Tĩnh steel plant – a joint venture between the Taiwanese company Formosa, China Steel Corporation and Japan’s JFE Steel – had been discharging toxic waste into the ocean, devastating local marine life and directly affecting some 40,000 workers who relied on fishing and tourism for their livelihood. The affected communities have faced crackdowns on protest and are still seeking justice. Today, the region is a key site of people-smuggling to the UK.

      We can see neo-colonial dynamics playing out here. Big corporations from richer countries come in to exploit resources and low labour costs to produce wealth for themselves. When they cut corners to maximise profit, local working-class communities bear the brunt of the fallout, often in the form of irreparable environmental damage. These same countries then benefit from a hyper-exploitable migrant workforce: Taiwan and Japan, for instance, are on the receiving end of Vietnamese labour export programmes. These are effectively systems of debt servitude, whereby migrants work long hours for low pay in often poor conditions in order to send remittances to support their families back home, on top of repaying debts incurred to obtain work abroad. In Taiwan, low wages and rampant abuse drive many workers to break away from their contracts and seek criminalised forms of work. In Japan, Vietnamese workers commonly report experiences of racism and social exclusion, with many even dying of overwork.


      This year, we also saw the inclusion of an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) style mechanism in EU-Vietnam trade deals. This effectively gives foreign investors the power to sue host governments when their court rulings, laws and regulations – many of which serve the public interest – undermine their investments. Globally, ISDS has been used by corporations to sue governments when hard-won social and environmental protections negatively impact their production and profits. Currently, two British oil firms are using ISDS to sue the Vietnamese government to avoid paying taxes in the country. With the EU-Vietnam trade deal, we can expect European corporations to continue to exploit this mechanism at the expense of the local environment and people, who may increasingly seek to build their lives elsewhere.

      The UK response

      It is in this context that smuggling networks develop and operate. Those seeking the prospect of a better life abroad may hire the services of smugglers who facilitate illegalised movement across borders. Many will incur debts to finance their journeys, and expect to undertake difficult work upon arrival at their destination. One response of the UK Home Office is to support IOM (International Organization for Migration) Vietnam, both in delivering propaganda campaigns that attempt to deter people from illegalised migration, and in criminal investigations aimed at prosecuting smugglers and traffickers – policies that do nothing to address the conditions that lead people to migrate. Politicians and commentators are also insisting that to avoid tragedies like the Essex 39, we need increased border security and continued collaboration with EU law enforcement and anti-trafficking units. Yet we have witnessed the prosecution of aid workers helping migrants to safety under EU trafficking laws, and there are countless reports of police brutality against migrants in EU border enforcement operations. In reality, tougher borders only lead migrants and smugglers to risk increasingly deadly and secretive migration routes in order to evade detection by improved security technology. Securitised responses also shift the smuggling industry away from community-based networks towards increasingly violent and highly organised criminal networks that are able to maximally exploit migrants’ vulnerability to increase their profit margins. In short, borders kill. If we want to prevent migrant deaths, we need to work towards the abolition of borders, starting with practical solidarity resisting borders in public life and our communities – refusing complicity in the hostile environment, visiting people in detention, and resisting immigration raids.

      The impact of criminalisation

      We should also be concerned about how an increased emphasis on anti-trafficking legislation may further endanger precarious migrant workers in the UK. In 2016, we saw ‘anti-trafficking’ police raids on massage parlours in Soho and Chinatown lead to the violent arrest of many migrant sex workers on immigration grounds. Whilst ostensibly aimed at addressing exploitation, these kinds of ‘rescue’ raids on brothels, nail bars and cannabis farms are basically indistinguishable from immigration raids, leading as they often do to the detention of migrant workers, who then either face deportation or a protracted legal battle to remain. Often underlying such operations are gendered and racialised assumptions of Asian migrant women as passive and helpless victims in need of rescue, and Asian men as unscrupulous and predatory traffickers, who control and exploit those helpless victims. The reality is that in the context of border regimes that push them into debt and underground economies, many migrants make a constrained choice to work under conditions that are to varying degrees exploitative or abusive in order to pay off debts to smugglers, send money to dependants, and indeed, to survive. The fact that the British state does not guarantee indefinite leave to remain, nor adequate social support to those it identifies as survivors of trafficking shows its fundamental failure to grasp the central role that borders and capitalism, rather than individual traffickers, play in producing conditions for exploitation and abuse.

      Whatever their circumstances, we need to ensure migrants are able to assert labour rights and access safe housing, work, healthcare and other public, legal and social services – all without fear of immigration sanctions or criminal convictions. At a minimum, this means ending the ‘hostile environment’ which embeds immigration checks throughout public life, and decriminalising industries such as sex work whose criminalisation only pushes undocumented workers deeper into secrecy and silence.

      As heart-breaking stories of victims continue to emerge, we must recognise that such deaths are an inevitability of the neo-colonial, securitised regimes being built globally, designed to marginalise working-class migrants and people of colour, who are rendered exploitable or disposable. Systemic analyses that centre anti-capitalism, no borders, building migrant workers’ rights globally, and the decriminalisation of sex work are not distractions but central to bringing an end to senseless deaths such as those of the Essex 39.

      http://www.irr.org.uk/news/grieve-the-essex-39-but-recognise-the-root-causes

    • Lorry driver pleads guilty over role in Essex deaths

      #Maurice_Robinson, 25, admits plotting to assist illegal immigration
      A lorry driver charged with the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants found dead in a refrigerated trailer has pleaded guilty to plotting to assist illegal immigration.

      Maurice Robinson, 25, who is known as Mo, was allegedly part of a global smuggling ring. He was arrested shortly after the bodies of eight females and 31 males were found in a trailer attached to his Scania cab in an industrial park in Grays, Essex, on 23 October.

      The victims were identified later as Vietnamese nationals, with the youngest being two boys aged 15.

      Robinson appeared at the Old Bailey in London via video link from Belmarsh prison for a plea hearing. He spoke to confirm his identity and British nationality.

      Robinson admitted conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019. The charge states that he plotted with others to do “an act or series of acts which facilitated the commission of a breach of immigration law by various persons”.

      During the hearing before Mr Justice Edis, Robinson also admitted acquiring criminal property – namely cash – on the same dates. He was not asked to enter pleas to other charges, including 39 counts of manslaughter.

      Police formally identified all 39 victims this month and informed their families. It has emerged, however, that relatives of the migrants found dead were told that neither the British nor Vietnamese governments would bear the costs of repatriating the bodies.

      Police in Vietnam have arrested eight people suspected of being part of a ring responsible for smuggling Vietnamese people to Britain.

      Essex police have launched extradition proceedings to bring Eamonn Harrison, 22, from Ireland to the UK. He appeared at Dublin’s central criminal court last Thursday after he was arrested on a European arrest warrant in respect of 39 counts of manslaughter, one count of a human trafficking offence and one count of assisting unlawful immigration.

      Harrison is accused of driving the lorry with the refrigerated container to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it was collected in Essex by Robinson.

      Robinson was remanded into custody until a further hearing on 13 December.

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/25/lorry-driver-pleads-guilty-in-essex-deaths-case?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Tw

    • Don’t call the Essex 39 a ‘tragedy’

      Jun Pang on why the deaths of 39 undocumented migrants were entirely avoidable, and why borders are to blame.

      On 23 October, 39 people were found dead in the back refrigerated lorry in Essex, South East England, with media outlets reporting that the victims may have frozen to death in temperatures as low as -25°C.

      The truck had crossed The Channel from Belgium, a route that has been used increasingly by migrants after the French government tightened restrictions on departures from Calais.

      These 39 deaths were not a ‘tragedy’. They were not unavoidable. They were the direct result of British government policies that have made it impossible to enter the country using safe and legal means.

      The conditions that produced these 39 deaths emerge from the same set of policies that deny asylum, justify indefinite immigration detention, charter deportation flights, and restrict migrants’ access to fundamental rights – that is, the so-called ‘Hostile Environment’.

      The aim is to make the UK so inhospitable for migrants that they will not make the effort to try to enter. They are also the conditions that allow the Global North to continue to thrive off the exploitation of undocumented migrant workers.

      ‘The brutality of capitalism’

      When I first heard of the deaths, I was reminded of the 2004 Morecambe Bay disaster, when 23 undocumented Chinese workers drowned while picking cockles off the Lancashire coast. These workers did not die of ‘natural causes’, they died because their gangmaster did not give them any information about how to work safely in the notoriously dangerous bay. He was willing to sacrifice these undocumented workers’ lives for the sake of a higher yield.

      Chinese workers were described by one gangmaster as ‘a half-price... more punctual and productive workforce’. Did their employers imagine that Chinese people’s racialized ‘productivity’ somehow meant that they were also immune to the elements? One Morecambe Bay cockler later told journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai (who later wrote a book about Chinese migrant workers’ lives in the UK) that ‘he blamed the brutality of capitalism for the tragedy’.

      At the end of 2018, China was one of the countries with the highest numbers of citizens in UK detention centres. Earlier this year, I visited a Chinese man in detention, who had come to the UK with the help of so-called ‘snakehead’ smugglers, who are often blamed for the deaths of undocumented migrants like the Essex 39. The man had fled to the UK for fear that he would be killed; he did not know how else he could enter.

      The Home Office rejected his refugee application, detained him for more than a year (despite bundles of evidence from experts on his situation) and ended up deporting him – but not before first mistakenly deporting another man with the same surname.

      One of the most heartbreaking things he had said to me was that he would rather work for £1 an hour in the detention centre for the rest of his life, than go home and face persecution.
      Hierarchy of ‘desert’

      It is not useful to speculate on the reasons why these 39 Vietnamese nationals decided to try to enter the UK. More important is to recognize that the UK border has long been a site of racialized, classed, and gendered violence for all migrants, regardless of the reasons for entering. In 1998, the New Labour government published ‘Fairer, Faster, and Firmer – A Modern Approach to Immigration and Asylum’, a White Paper which warned that ‘economic migrants will exploit whatever route offers the best chance of entering or remaining within the UK’. Two years later, in 2000, 58 Chinese nationals were found dead, having suffocated in the back of a lorry at Dover docks.

      States often attempt to distinguish ‘economic migrants’ from ‘real refugees’ as a way to restrict legal entry at the border. Such categorization creates an arbitrary hierarchy of entitlement to international protection, absent of any consideration of the unequal distribution of resources across the Global North and Global South that often makes seeking employment overseas the only way that some people – and their families – can survive.

      In theory, this hierarchy of ‘desert’ is illegitimate because human rights violations, including deprivation of socioeconomic rights, are not subject to ranking. In practice, the hierarchy also fails to give ‘priority’ to ‘real refugees’ due to the culture of disbelief around asylum applications. So migrants are forced to rely on smugglers to gain entry.

      Smugglers facilitate the entry of migrants through different pathways. This entails significant risks, as states establish stronger barriers to entry, including visa restrictions, carrier sanctions, and interceptions at sea. The journeys do not stop; the conditions simply become more and more deadly.

      Smuggling is different to trafficking, which is the forced movement of a person for the purpose of exploitation, including labour and sexual exploitation. Anti-trafficking policies, however, are often criticized for failing to protect, and sometimes causing direct harm to, undocumented migrants. In the UK survivors of trafficking are detained and in some cases deported; even after being recognized as survivors, they often do not receive adequate social support.

      Part of the ‘anti-trafficking’ movement is also rooted in an anti-sex work politics that conflates sex work with sexual exploitation. This perspective presents all migrant sex workers as ‘victims’ requiring ‘saving’. In the end, this only pushes migrant sex workers into more insecure working conditions, subjecting them to the threat of arrest, detention, and deportation.

      States often conflate smuggling and trafficking to introduce blanket restrictions on entry and to criminalize particular forms of work in order to eject unwanted migrants. But blaming migrants’ deaths on smugglers and traffickers does nothing but mask the structures of racism and capitalism that both restrict the movement of, and exploit, undocumented workers.

      We do not at the time of writing know if the 39 people in the back of the lorry were hoping to come to the UK as workers; or whether they were being trafficked into labour exploitation. But the objectification of their ‘bodies’ reminded me of the way that migrants are only useful until they are not; and then, they are, quite literally, disposable.

      A man is being questioned in connection with the murder of the Essex 39; but the blood is ultimately on the hands of the British state, and the global system of borders that entrenches exploitative and deadly relations of power.

      https://newint.org/features/2019/10/25/dont-call-essex-39-tragedy
      #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots #tragédie #pouvoir #capitalisme