Hung is from a small village in Vietnam. When he was 16 his father became ill and could not work. His family decided that Hung should be sent abroad to earn money and found a smuggler to take him to the UK for $25,000. His family were told that he could repay the money when he started working.
However, when he arrived in the UK, he was taken to a house and immediately put to work growing cannabis. The windows were all covered and the doors were kept locked. He didn’t leave the house once in 3 months. There were other boys like Hung in the house and they were all made to work long hours tending to plants, which included using toxic chemicals with no protective clothing. They could not open the windows for fresh or daylight. When hung eventually asked about his wages he was beaten and told that if he was disobedient he would be killed. Hung was scared all the time and he didn’t know how he could ever escape, especially as he didn’t know anyone and spoke very little English.
One day the police raided the house and Hung was arrested. Ha, the man who had forced him to work, shouted in Vietnamese that if they said anything to the police he would find their families and harm them. He was very frightened and did not understand the interview process. He ended up being sent to juvenile detention and it was not until he had already spent a year there that the Home Office confirmed he was a victim of human trafficking and he was released. Hung still has a criminal record, and is battling for asylum. He is terrified of being returned to Vietnam where his family are in severe debt, and his life is at risk from the traffickers.
Case Study courtesy of ECPAT www.ecpat.org.uk