Families of migrants feared dead in Essex lorry horror face ‘intimidation’ by gang members

Families of migrants feared dead in Essex lorry horror face ‘intimidation’ by gang members who are owed up to £30,000 for smuggling them into Europe

  • Experts warn victims’ relatives are being held to ransom by smuggling networks
  • Families of suspected victims are being intimidated to stop them speaking out 
  • The Mail was prevented from talking to family of a suspected victim in Vietnam
  • A trafficker contacted one family promising a refund of some of the £11,000 fee

The debt-ridden families of suspected victims in the Essex lorry tragedy are being intimidated by smuggling gangs, it has emerged.

Grieving relatives in Vietnam are understood to have come under pressure not to speak out as authorities in the UK seek to find those responsible for the 39 deaths.

Anti-trafficking experts last night warned that victims’ relatives are being held ransom by ‘highly sophisticated and organised’ smuggling networks to whom they owe up to £30,000.

Grieving relatives in Vietnam are understood to have come under pressure not to speak out as authorities in the UK seek to find those responsible for the 39 deaths. The mother of one suspected victim is pictured above speaking out at a press conference in Vietnam

The Daily Mail was prevented from speaking to the family of one suspected victim in Vietnam.

After wanting to discuss their child’s disappearance, the family was ordered to keep quiet by men who escorted a reporter off the property – and locals believe they may be linked to smugglers.

The family of suspected victim Nguyen Dinh Luoung, 20, have told how they were contacted by a trafficker in France after the tragedy and promised that some of the £11,000 smuggling fee would be returned.

Experts said the tactic has likely been employed by gangs as leverage to ensure families do not speak to police about their operation.

Michael Brosowski, head of anti-trafficking charity Blue Dragon in Hanoi, said families often borrow money from the smugglers and are then left facing years of repayments – while the victims of gangs can find themselves trafficked and effectively used as slaves to supposedly pay off the debt.

Anti-trafficking experts last night warned that victims' relatives are being held ransom by 'highly sophisticated and organised' smuggling networks to whom they owe up to £30,000. The scene at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex last week is pictured above

Anti-trafficking experts last night warned that victims’ relatives are being held ransom by ‘highly sophisticated and organised’ smuggling networks to whom they owe up to £30,000. The scene at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex last week is pictured above

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