28 November 2019 — Open Democracy
Debt and trafficking were used to explain why 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a lorry in Essex, but whom did the migrants owe?
Phong, 27, is an undocumented Vietnamese migrant working eleven hours a day, six days a week at a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris for €1,550 a month. He lives a minimal existence. Every penny Phong can spare goes to repaying the €15,000 debt he incurred while travelling from Nghe An in central Vietnam to France. The smuggler had charged him €4,000 up front, which was enough to get him to Moscow on a tourist visa. The trip to Poland cost a further €6,000: €2,000 for the arrangements to leave and €4,000 for arriving safely. A final €5,000 was due once he arrived in France.