UK jails four people smugglers over Vietnamese migrant truck tragedy

The grim discovery inside the container truck on an industrial estate east of London last year threw fresh light on the plight of migrants desperate to reach Britain.
The grim discovery inside the container truck on an industrial estate east of London last year threw fresh light on the plight of migrants desperate to reach Britain. © AFP/file, Ben Stanstall
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Four men were given prison terms ranging from 13 years to 27 years on Friday for their involvement in a people-smuggling plot that led to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants. 

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The four men on trial at the Old Bailey court in central London faced a range of charges, from manslaughter to conspiracy to commit unlawful immigration.

The lifeless bodies of the migrants – aged between 15 and 44 – were discovered inside a sealed container at a port near London in October 2019.

A post-mortem examination found the victims died from lack of oxygen and overheating in the refrigerated lorry.

The gruesome discovery shocked Britain and Vietnam, and shone a spotlight on the illicit global trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.

Most of those who died were from Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, environmental disasters and the promise of financial reward abroad fuel migration.

Seven people were jailed in Vietnam last year for their role in the tragedy.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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