2022 Assembly


Revealed: the secret ‘forced labour’ migration route from Vietnam to the UK: Observer investigation uncovers new trafficking gateway to the west after 500 migrants found in shocking conditions in Serbia


This is a very important article for Renate members as it covers a very serious subject about human trafficking throughout the continent of Europe from Romania, Serbia to the UK and in between.  It is not a new story but perhaps something that should be highlighted once again.

Over the past five years at least 231 Vietnamese people were interce

pted trying to cross into Europe according to data from the Romanian border police. Hungarian police intercepted another 101 in the same period.

Experts like Vu estimate this is only a very small portion of Vietnamese who leave Romania into western Europe.  As a new modus operandi, Vietnamese citizens enter Romania legally, based on work visas, and are subsequently detected on their way out of the country, trying to illegally cross the border,” a spokesperson from the Romanian border police told the Observer. Social media plays a central role for smuggling gangs. Facebook groups visited by the Observer offer “VIP” routes in private cars out of Romania. Packages

 are advertised with the dialling codes of the destination countries, with buyers able to pick the “44” package for the UK, “49” for Germany and “33 

for France”. Prices fell during the pandemic, but a trip to the UK can still cost over £10,000.”

The trafficking, smuggling and exploitation  of Vietnamese nationals has been a great concern for many years, not least because of the tragedy in the UK when 39 people were found to have died in the back of a container on their journey to find a better life.  

Concerns were raised in 2016 when the former UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE commissioned a comprehensive report entitled “Combating modern slavery experienced by Vietnamese nationals en route to, and within, the UK” which was published in 2017.