Harrowing details of the final moments of the UK human trafficking victims have been emerging online. Anguished victims packed in a refrigerated container truck were sending desperate messages to families even as they struggled for air in their dying moments.
Twenty-six-year-old Pham Thi Tra My from Vietnam was among the 39 people who were found dead inside a container truck in Essex, England. "I'm sorry Mom. My path to abroad does not succeed. Mom, I love you so much! I'm dying bcoz I cannot breath ... I'm from Nghen, Can Loc, Ha Tinh, Vietnam ... I am sorry, Mom," she said in her message to her mother.
The truck of death had come from Zeebrugge in Belgium and was reportedly carrying Chinese citizens trying to sneak into the country with the help of fly-by-night immigration touts. Though it was initially reported that all of the victims were Chinese nationals, it is assumed that Vietnamese also were among them. UK police also suggested that the initial conclusion was being reviewed.
Hoa Nghiem, who works for Human Rights Space, a civic network based in Vietnam, said the agency was trying to verify if more Vietnamese nationals were among the victims. "It was told on the news that all 39 people were Chinese but Tra My's family is trying to verify if their daughter was among them as the last dying text from her was coincidentally in time ... Our contact is getting more alerts that there could be more Vietnamese people in the truck," she wrote on Twitter, according to the South China Morning Post.
The victim's brother told the BBC that she started her journey began on October 3. "She flew to China and stayed there for a couple of days, then left for France ... She called us when she reached each destination. The first attempt she made to cross the border to the UK was October 19 but she got caught and turned back. I don't know for sure from which port," he said.
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BBC reported that another Vietnamese national, identified as 20-year-old Dinh Luong, was also among the victims. Another 19-year-old Vietnamese woman who was apparently in the truck, had messaged her brother that she was getting into the ill fated container and that she was switching off the phone in order to avoid detection. There has been no word from her since then.
It has also been reported that the people smugglers charged their victims huge sums of money for taking them to Britain illegally. The families of some of the victims had to mortgage their homes to find the money, the report said. While the truck driver is in custody and is likely to face charges of murder, a man and a woman believed to be Irish have also been taken into custody, Irish media said.