Exploited by Their Own Countrymen

There were a couple of interesting stories in the news this week. In both of these cases, the victims were exploited by their own compatriots…

Federal authorities in the U.S. seized 14 7-Eleven stores in New York and Virginia, and indicted nine owners and managers. They were charged with identity theft, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and concealing and harboring illegal immigrants. A further 40 7-Eleven stores are being investigated. The defendants all come from Pakistan or the Philippines and, allegedly, exploited people from their own countries.

The second article was about how a disproportionately large number (almost 20%) of missing children in the U.K. are Vietnamese. This is especially strange when one considers that the Vietnamese community in the U.K. accounts for only 0.1% of the population. The children were allegedly trafficked into the U.K. by gangs to work in hydroponic cannabis factories, but then discovered by police and taken into care. The reason for their disappearance may be that they’ve run back to the traffickers to repay heavy debts and protect their families (in Vietnam) from reprisals. According to Klara Skrivankova of Anti-Slavery International, “Vietnamese gangs are targeting their own people. There is usually a correlation between the nationality of the victims and their traffickers.” She also says that this is the same trend across Europe.

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