39 people from the Far East; we were told they lived in one of the largest countries in the world, but later we heard it was Vietnam; decided to make a treacherous journey to get to Europe. We don’t know their reasons for making the journey, we assume they were economic migrants.
39 people hoped for a new life in the UK. Some people would say they chose us because of our benefits system.
39 people so believed in their future they were prepared to pay over fifteen thousand euros to get here. It was money they did not have, and we understand families mortgaged their land to raise the funds.
39 people left mothers, fathers, maybe partners and children behind. We can’t imagine what they had to do to get ready to travel nearly 8000 miles on a terrible journey.
39 people sat in the back of lorries, maybe they talked and definitely they dreamed of a better life. Young women and men with burning ambitions. Each of them would need to earn money they could send home.
39 people experienced pain, discomfort, cruelty and I hope they also experienced some acts of kindness on the journey.
39 people sat quietly, phones turned off, in the back of a refrigerated lorry as the temperature plummeted to -20, so they would not be found. Their bodies started to shake, they may have cuddled each other to warm up, they struggled to breathe and slowly they watched as one by one of their fellow travellers slipped away.
39 people made an 8000 mile treacherous journey to get into the UK.
39 people died in a refrigerated container on a road in Essex in October.
They were 39 people who didn’t know that the UK is broken.
Who will remember them?