Monday 28 September 2020

Vietnamese boy who died in British lorry had run away from Dutch refugee unit


One of the young teenagers who died in a refrigerated lorry in England last month had run away from a secure unit for vulnerable refugees in the Netherlands, the AD has reported

In total, 39 people, all Vietnamese, died in the lorry which was found in an industrial area in Essex. The container they were hiding in had arrived in England from Zeebrugge in Belgium the previous day. ­­

The AD reported earlier that six Vietnamese youngsters had run away from the care facility on August 16 but the Dutch refugee settlement agency COA will not say if the youngster was one of these six. ‘But it goes without saying this is a major tragedy,’ a spokesman told the paper.

In April, Dutch MPs called for a full investigation after it emerged over 1,000 refugee children, mostly teenagers disappeared from protected refugee centres in the Netherlands between 2013 and 2017.

The figures came from research by radio programme Argos which has been looking into the trafficking of young refugees, particularly those of Vietnamese origin.

Over the past five years, at least 60 Vietnamese children have vanished without trace from the protected housing where they lived in the Netherlands because of fears they were at risk of being trafficked, Argos said.

Nail salons

The Argos investigation, a joint probe with Britain’s Observer newspaper, said officials fear most of them end up in the UK working on cannabis plantations and in nail salons.

In one case, a 17-year-old Vietnamese boy managed to seek the help of British police after being brought into the country from a refugee centre in the south of the Netherlands.

In the late 2000s, over 100 Nigerian girls disappeared from Dutch refugee centres, several of whom were later found in Italian brothels.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.