Six women, including four Vietnamese and two Iraqi nationals, who were discovered in the back of a lorry in France on Wednesday, are facing divergent fates, according to a statement by a French public prosecutor. The women, who had boarded the lorry with hopes of reaching the UK, were found by police.
However, a French public prosecutor has decreed that four of the six women must leave France within 30 days. It remains unclear which four individuals will face deportation, while the other two have been granted permission to remain in France while their asylum requests are processed.
The women had embarked on their journey believing that the Irish-registered lorry would transport them to England. In reality, the vehicle was en route to deliver a shipment of bananas to Dunkirk before heading to Italy. When the women noticed a change in the lorry’s direction through their phone locations, panic set in.
In a desperate bid for help, one of the women contacted a BBC journalist, Khue B Luu, who promptly alerted French authorities. Simultaneously, the lorry’s driver grew suspicious, having heard what sounded like voices emanating from the trailer. The driver subsequently pulled over in a lay-by and contacted the police.
French authorities responded to the reports, eventually locating the lorry and discovering the six women inside the refrigerated trailer. Despite the trailer’s temperature being as low as 6°C (42°F) when opened, all the women were reported to be in good health.
Notably, the lorry’s driver was initially detained upon the discovery of the women but was not suspected of any wrongdoing. The incident underscores the perilous journey often undertaken by migrants seeking refuge in different countries.
The pivotal role played by BBC journalist Khue B Luu, who received a phone call from an unknown individual pleading for help, highlights the critical role that media professionals can sometimes play in assisting individuals in distress. Through her efforts and quick thinking, Ms. Luu was able to coordinate with colleagues and authorities, leading to the rescue of the women from the lorry.