Feature: Essex lorry deaths shatter dreams of illegal Vietnamese migrant workers

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-01 17:01:18|Editor: Liu
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VINH, Vietnam, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- In a pink beige one-story building in Vietnam's central Nghe An province, a makeshift altar has been erected for the house's owner, despite the fact that he has not been confirmed among the 39 dead in a lorry in the British county of Essex.

The altar for Nguyen Dinh Tu, a 26-year-old father of two, is a plastic table on which stand a small incense burner, a high vase, a large dish and a small tea-set.

"Tu has been a responsible man, and created beautiful paintings," Nguyen Van Tinh, Tu's elder brother, told Xinhua on Thursday, pointing to a set of three paintings depicting a tree full of white flowers above the altar.

Tu borrowed money to build the one-story building in Do Thanh commune, Yen Thanh district, and he borrowed money again to go to Britain to work in order to provide a better life for his family.

"If I had known he was going to use an illegal service to get to England to work as a guest worker, I would have prevented him from doing that," Tinh said, shaking his head.

The man refused to reveal the service and the route his younger brother had taken.

However, according to what Tu's wife told local media on Sunday, Tu went to Romania, Germany, France and Britain, with a total fee of nearly 800 million Vietnamese dong (nearly 34,800 U.S. dollars).

Tu made the last phone call to his family on Oct. 21, saying he was in France and prepared to cross the English Channel. His family feared that he is among the 39 people found dead on Oct. 23 in Essex.

A number of other families in the Yen Thanh district, Nghe An province and the neighboring province of Ha Tinh have reported to local authorities that they have lost contact with their family members, mostly young men and a few young women, since Oct. 22, and that they were en route to Britain to work as migrant workers.

Some 500 meters from Tu's building stands the house of a 19-year-old girl named Bui Thi Nhung. Her elder brother, Bui Van Diep, said she had flied to Europe on a tourist visa, and wanted to stay there to work. In the last call to her family, Nhung said she was in France.

"Wanting to work abroad as guest workers to have better incomes is a justifiable reason, but laborers should obey laws of Vietnam and receiving countries," an official of the Overseas Labor Management Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, police of central Thua Thien Hue province said they have prosecuted three people, including a 32-year-old man from the province, a 34-year-old woman from southern Ho Chi Minh City, and a 32-year-old man from central highlands Dak Lak province for illegally sending local people abroad, including the United States. They charged four customers a fee of 21,000-36,000 U.S. dollars.

Vietnam sent 104,317 laborers to work overseas, mainly in Asian countries, in the first nine months of 2019, posting a year-on-year increase of nearly 2.2 percent, the Vietnam Association of Manpower Supply said.

Over 500,000 Vietnamese people are working as migrant workers in more than 40 countries and regions, annually remitting home 2 to 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Overseas Labor Management Department.