NYT hat am 01.11.2019 einen gut recherchierten Bericht über die vietnamesischen Migrant*innen veröffentlicht, die über China und Russland einreisen, durch die Wälder von Belarus nach Polen wandern und schließlich als „box people“ in einem irischen Lastwagen ersticken.
Vietnamese smugglers call it the “CO2” route: a poorly ventilated, oxygen-deficient trip across the English Channel in shipping containers or trailers piled high with pallets of merchandise, the last leg of a perilous, 6,000-mile trek across Asia and into Western Europe.
Compared to the other path — the “V.I.P. route,” with its brief hotel stay and seat in a truck driver’s cab — the trip in a stuffy container can be brutal for what some Vietnamese refer to as “box people,” successors to the “boat people” who left after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
Vietnamese migrants often wait for months in roadside camps in northern France before being sneaked into a truck trailer. Snakeheads, as the smugglers are known, beat men and sexually assault women, aid groups, lawyers and the migrants themselves say. People cocoon themselves in aluminum bags and endure hours in refrigerated units to reduce the risk of detection. […]
An estimated 18,000 Vietnamese paying smugglers for the journey to Europe every year at prices between 8,000 and 40,000 pounds, around $10,000 to $50,000.
In Britain, where Brexit has discouraged the flow of labor from Eastern Europe, migrants see a country thirsty for low-wage workers, paying easily five times what they could earn at home and free of the onerous identity checks that make other European countries inhospitable.
Vietnamese smugglers, for the most part, get their clients across to France and the Netherlands, where other gangs, often Kurdish and Albanian, or, as in the recent case, apparently Irish or Northern Irish, finish the job. […]
Not all the 20,000 to 35,000 undocumented Vietnamese migrants estimated to be living in Britain have horror stories to tell. Many migrants, some experts say, put up with the travails of working in Britain for the real chance of a payday.
“My research has shown stories of migrants are not all about exploitation and not all about being trafficked,” said Tamsin Barber, a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. “People are usually coming here agreeing to take high risks to work illegally and potentially earn large amounts of money in the cannabis trade.”
But more vulnerable Vietnamese are also being trafficked to Britain, with the authorities receiving five times as many referrals last year as in 2012. […}
On the way from China to Russia to Western Europe, one of the most punishing stretches is the walk through Belarusian forests to the Polish border. In a 2017 French survey of Vietnamese migrants, a man identified as Anh, 24, told researchers that he and five other men, led by a smuggler, were repeatedly arrested in Belarus, only to be released at the Russian border to try again. When they finally succeeded, they were met by a truck waiting on the Polish side.
“We were cold,” the survey quoted him as saying. “We didn’t eat anything for two days. We drank water from melted snow.”
Other routes, choreographed down to the minute, land migrants in European airports with recycled visas and travel documents, according to “Precarious Journeys,” a recent report from ECPAT, an anti-child-trafficking organization, and other groups. As a precaution, smugglers in Vietnam often tell people to arrive at airport check-in desks 10 minutes before they close, for instance, so agents do not have enough time to inspect paperwork.
The trip can take months, even years. Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20, one of the migrants believed to have died last week, wanted to go to France to find work and support his siblings, seven of them in all, his father, Nguyen Dinh Gia, said. But in Russia, he overstayed his tourist visa and was confined to his house for six months. Then he moved to Ukraine and France, where he found a job as a waiter, before deciding to go to Britain for work in a nail salon. […]
Trips are frequently interrupted when migrants are detained or run out of money. Some migrants are forced to work along the way, in garment factories in Russia or in restaurants across Europe. Some women sell sex, researchers say.
Smugglers often keep people in the dark about where they are as a way of exerting total control. In a 2017 case, 16 Vietnamese people picked up by the Ukrainian authorities in Odessa thought they were in France.