Vietnam is mourning this Friday, a day after it was confirmed that the 39 migrants found dead in a truck in Essex (England) on October 23 were Vietnamese, mostly from poor and rural areas.
The Vietnamese government confirmed last night the identification of the victims and expressed their condolences to the relatives and friends of emigrants, who paid up to $ 40,000 to human traffickers in search of a better life in the United Kingdom.
The extraordinary economic growth of Vietnam since it began to open the economy in the late 1980s has occurred mostly around the big cities and has set aside the most rural and poor provinces, where the only hope is often emigrate to the big city or abroad.
Thousands of Vietnamese risk even an expensive and uncertain journey to reach European lands, such as the 39 dead in Essex, who came from provinces in the center and north of their country.
“Hundreds of thousands migrate to the industrialized peripheries of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Tens of thousands go to other countries in Southeast Asia or Asia. And a few thousand go to Europe, which costs a lot of money and is very difficult to organize, ”Nicolas Laínez, associate researcher at the Center for Southeast Asia in Paris, told Efe.
Away from the main cities, where the average salary doubles what is perceived by working in the field according to the United Nations, without tourist attractions and hit every year by typhoons and storms every year more damaging by the climate crisis, the populations of provinces such as Nghe An and Ha Tinh have become accustomed since the days of the cold war to emigrate to communist Europe to get ahead.
Mimi Vu, an expert in trafficking and trafficking in persons resident in Ho Chi Minh, explains to Efe that the program of emigration to countries of the Eastern bloc launched by the communist regime of Hanoi from 1975 illuminated in this area a “tradition ”That has remained to this day.
“A part of the workers who had the opportunity to go to the countries of the former Soviet bloc came from those provinces. That was when the tradition of going abroad in general to going to Europe changed, earning money to support families in Vietnam. The remittance culture began then, ”he said.
The mirror in which many want to look at is that of Pham Nhat Vuong, a native of Ha Tinh, who studied in Moscow in the 80s of the last century, then moved to Ukraine to start a business selling noodles and years later he returned to Vietnam with capital and contacts to end up becoming the richest man in the country with its industrial group Vingroup.
Without reaching the extreme case of Vuong, many families who encourage their children to emigrate aspire to a more affluent life that, once paid the debt with the traffic networks of people, allows them to look small luxuries like a car or build a house new.
“It has been going on for more than 30 years and now the money is sent for the family to start a business. Vietnam is still one of the countries where more remittances arrive, it depends on them to maintain the economy, ”said Vu.
For Laínez, it is also a matter of social networks and available contacts. “If everyone in your district goes to Taiwan or Europe you are going to do the same. And if in the next one they go to Saigon (officially called Ho Chi Minh) because there are social networks that favor it, you will go to Saigon, ”he says.
In recent years the United Kingdom seems to be a preferred destination within Europe, something that Vu attributes to the tendency to associate English-speaking countries with a higher economic level since the Vietnamese community that has been established there since the 1990s past century favors the arrival of others.
“The United States will always be the favorite destination. But there is that idea that where English is spoken there is more money, so they choose the United Kingdom, where they can go overland. Access to English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada or Australia is more difficult, ”he said.
Although the impact of the Essex tragedy can cause greater awareness among the population and the authorities regarding trafficking and trafficking in persons, neither expert believes that the flow will be halted or slowed down.
“Unless it goes to the root of the problem, which is poverty,” he said, “people will continue to leave because they will have the same options as before. We must give them other options: alternatives for a better life in Vietnam or a safe and legal emigration that does not work for their exploitation.
(tagsToTranslate) poverty (t) Vietnamese (t) dead (t) truck (t) England