Leaving The EU Could Be Disastrous For The Fight Against Human Trafficking

December 6, 2019

“I’m sorry Mum. My journey abroad hasn’t succeeded. Mum, I love you so much! I’m dying because I can’t breathe.” These were reportedly the last words of 26 year-old Pham Thi Tra in a text message to her parents, sent as she approached death with 38 others in the refrigerated truck found in Essex last week. 

The horror of the slow death suffered by these lost souls is unimaginable. Trapped in freezing darkness her phone may have been the only light Pham Thi Tra had. Somehow she used the last moments of her life to apologise to her parents for her failure to reach the UK.

The hidden nature of human trafficking makes the task of defining its scale. Kennington-based charity Stop the Traffik cites an International Labour Organization (ILO) report that there are over 40 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. At 26, Pham Thi Tra was the average age for an identified human trafficking victim according to the Migration Data Portal, half of those identified being between 18 and 34 years old.

In the UK the National Crime Agency (NCA) leads the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking – the two are intrinsically linked. Between October and December 2018 the NCA reporting system showed that potential victims of trafficking originated from 84 different countries, with nationals from Albania, the UK and Vietnam being the most commonly reported.

Over the past few years, we have been exposed to all-too-frequent, disturbing stories and images of refugees who have perished during their journey to perceived sanctuary in Europe and the UK. Heartbreaking footage of parents cradling drowned children and, more recently, the incident where 39 refugees died in the back of a refrigerated container lorry, have shocked the nation. Most recently, 12 migrants of Syrian and Sudanese origin were find alive in a refrigerated truck in Belgium.

To read the full story by Rabina Khan on The Independent: Click Here

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