Vietnam Deputy PM condoles death of trafficking victims

By Dat Nguyen   November 2, 2019 | 06:50 am PT
Vietnam Deputy PM condoles death of trafficking victims
Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, August 2019. Photo by Reuters.
Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh has expressed his deepest condolences to the families of victims in the U.K. truck tragedy.

"There were Vietnamese believed to be among 39 migrants who were found dead in a lorry in Essex. With deepest sorrows, I would like to extend deep sympathy with and sincere condolences to families of the victims," Minh said on his Twitter account.

"Vietnam will continue working closely with British competent authorities in the case," the Deputy PM and Foreign Minister said.

British ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward also shared his thoughts and condolences in a video on the Facebook page of the British embassy.

"As a father, brother, husband and son, I cannot imagine what it must be to lose your loved ones in this way so far away from home," he said in Vietnamese.

The tragedy is a wake-up call and people should think about those who might be abused by human trafficking crimes in order to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again, he added.

These statements came after Essex County police said they believed 39 people found in a refrigerated container truck in the county last month are Vietnamese nationals.

"We believe we have identified families for some of the victims whose journey ended in tragedy on our shores," said their statement issued early on Saturday morning, Hanoi time.

The Vietnamese Embassy in the U.K. said in a statement Saturday that it was "deeply saddened" at the findings, and will coordinate with authorities to bring the victims’ bodies home.

"The embassy will closely coordinate with relevant authorities of Vietnam and the U.K. to support the families of the Vietnamese victims, if any, to bring their loved ones home," it said.

On October 23, U.K. emergency services discovered the bodies of 38 adults and one teenager, suspected immigrants, in a refrigerated container truck at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex County, east of London.

On Friday, police in Vietnam’s central province of Ha Tinh said they have arrested two persons following 10 families reporting their children going missing in the U.K. after the 39 victim tragedy.

19 other families in the nearby Nghe An and Thua Thien-Hue Provinces have also reported their children missing Europe around the time of the disaster.

Maurice Robinson, the 25-year-old truck driver, of Craigavon in Northern Ireland, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and other offences including conspiracy to smuggle people.

Three other people arrested in connection with the investigation have been released on bail until November 11-13.

Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security had earlier collected DNA samples of the parents with missing children for sending to the U.K. to help determine whether they were among the 39 people found dead inside the container.

Vietnam reported 490 human trafficking victims last year, according to the U.S.'s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Some 70 percent of Vietnamese trafficking cases in the U.K. between 2009 and 2016 were linked to labor exploitation, with young people forced to work in cannabis production and nail salons, according to a British government report released in 2018.

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