The issue of Vietnamese nationals consistently having some of the highest numbers of referrals into the UK’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is increasingly apparent. However, this did not gather nationwide attention until the Essex tragedy of October 2019 which saw 39 Vietnamese nationals found lifeless in a lorry after they were brought into the country by a criminal network of human traffickers and smugglers. This paper seeks to understand the circumstances of these Vietnamese victims of human trafficking to the Britain by reviewing the situation in both countries— Vietnam and the UK. Three instances of Vietnamese nationals trafficked to the UK have been chosen as case studies. Through semi-structured interviews, issues regarding how voluntary migration led these vulnerable people into slavery will be explored and this will be analysed alongside a review of literature in the field. This paper reveals the complexity of the matter, which is primarily derived from the multinational nature of trafficking and the different attitudes and approaches of the various countries involved, as well as the difficulty facing the authorities when combating this particular crime involving this specific group of vulnerable people, especially in terms of victim support. The ultimate goal of this paper is to offer authorities and practitioners in both countries a fresh review of the challenges in supporting these victims, and to redirect their focus on the obstacles to addressing Vietnamese trafficking. These obstacles include the prevalence of—often illicit—labour-exporting companies in Vietnam, instances of initial voluntary engagement in labour migration relationships which later become coercive, and the failure of the UK and Vietnam to agree what constitutes a genuine trafficking victim.

Combatting the Trafficking of Vietnamese Nationals to Britain: Cooperative Challenges for Vietnam and the UK, Social Sciences, 2022 DOWNLOAD

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