Vietnam Time

1/16/2018 3:07:14 PM

Journey of Vietnamese teen slave working in UK cannabis factories

VNF - Kidnapped to England at the age of 10, he spent 5 years of bitterness in cannabis factories in a foreign country.

S was kidnapped to the UK at the age of 10 to work as a slave at cannabis factories. Photo: The Guardian 

At the age of 10, the orphan boy, known as S, was “picked up” by a gang of human traffickers on the street of Hanoi and transported to England. For five years, he spent a life of misery, imprisoned in the adjacent house which was renovated into a cannabis farm.

S works without salary as a slave in modern times in dangerous environment. His daily task is to water plants, mix chemicals, turn on and off the 8-hour light system to stimulate the cannabis’s growth, prune and harvest. The toxic chemicals make S weakly, his hair and skin scorching under the heat of the lamp, sometimes he is electrocuted.

For years, S live alone, completely lost contact with the outside world. He was forced to stand far away from the window so that passers or people living around do not know there are people in the house. Occasionally, some gang members came over and supply him food. However, their main purpose is to check the cannabis farm. If cannabis does not grow well, S will be beaten.

‘’I'm like a beast trapped in a box’’, S told reporters at a social center, he did not dare to speak his name on the media because he feared revenge. ‘’I do nothing except sleep and care for marijuana. I do not know anything about England. They told me the neighbors living around were bad people, those neighbors would kill me if they saw me. They also said that the police would kill me if they saw me. They use knives to threaten me, cutting my hands and my feet when I do something wrong with them. And they said they would kill me if I tried to escape. "

At the age of 16, S was arrested by police in a raid on cannabis farms. In the police file, he was identified as a trafficking victim. During time of arrest, S could only speak a few English words. Then, the authorities send S to a social center. He started school. Now S can speak English fluently.

Expelled to Vietnam

 Bao, 15 (photographed to protect his identity), was told: ‘If you don’t water properly, we will stop bringing you food.’ Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

By law, at the age of 17 years and 6 months, S will expire in the UK as children’s asylum claims and automatically has the right to reside legally in the UK as a refugee. However, S's refugee claim was rejected by the Home Office. British public is criticizing the agency for its cruel action for banishing a child victim of trafficking.

In a 20-page document, the Home Office stated that S "has shown persistence in the effort to move to live in England and create a new life here" so there is no reason S, now a 19-year-old man "does not show the same effort when returning to Vietnam and rebuilding his life", even claiming that S "will reintegrate into Vietnamese society without any problems.’’

When filing an appeal, S said he had left Vietnam at the age of 10 and would be extremely difficult to reintegrate into his homeland. Probably, the appeal of S will be answered next month but the authorities make the decision sooner than expected and the answer is S will be deported.

"Vietnamese youth do not know anything about this strange country, so they are easily threatened and exploited.  Everyone needs to know this is how cannabis is grown in the UK. The police should act more to stop this", S said traffickers have never been kind to him and he has met many victims with similar fate to him, they are even much younger than S. 

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