LONDON - The deaths of 39 migrants in the back of a refrigerated truck near London last week has focused a spotlight on the lives of those who risk everything to earn a better living in Britain.
Many of the victims are believed to have traveled from Vietnam. Tamsin Barber, an expert on the Vietnamese diaspora in Britain at Oxford Brookes University, says many migrants are willing to take huge risks.
“They’re doing that because they know that when they get to the UK, the likelihood is that they’re going to be able to find work in the cannabis industry, where they might be able to earn large amounts of money in a short period of time, paying back their debts, the debts to the smugglers, and then eventually being able to pay send remittances back to their family,” Barber said.
Vietnamese residents light candles during a prayer for 39 people found dead in the back of a truck near London, in front of…
As well as the illegal cannabis industry, many Vietnamese work in nail and beauty salons, which have boomed on British high streets in recent years. Others work in the restaurant trade or as cleaners, while some are drawn into prostitution.
Once here, many migrants are effectively trapped, said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch.
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