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The media have been highlighting the tragic deaths of 39 victims found in a refrigerated lorry at Purfleet last week. One of the victims (a 19 year old female from Vietnam) sent a text to her mother apologising and saying that she was dying. It is reported that Bui Thi Nhung paid a smuggler more than $10000 to travel to the UK hoping to work in a nail bar.
This is not the first time that we have witnessed this kind of tragedy. In 2015, 71 migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were found suffocated in the back of a refrigerated truck.
The tragedy raises many questions. What causes 39 people to risk everything on a promise to be brought to the UK for work? How should companies be identifying and mitigating the risk of human trafficking?
Different reports have expressed the reasons why these people may have left their homeland. One of the reports state that some of the victims came from a region in Vietnam where the community has been destroyed by an environmental disaster in 2016.
Companies incorporated in the UK or carrying on business in the UK with a turnover of £36 million or above are required by the UK Modern Slavery Act to publish an annual modern slavery statement, setting out the steps they are taking to address modern slavery in their supply chain. Despite the law, it is apparent that the freight industry and ports have to reconsider managing their risk.
What are the lessons we can learn from this?
Join us on the 14th of November at the Hotel Du Vin ‘Tackling modern slavery in Sussex’ . Book here: https://www.ardeainternational.com/event/ardea-international-tackling-modern-slavery-in-sussex-event/