Inside the 'fortress' camp for Vietnamese migrants heading to UK cannabis farms

By Elisa Perrigueur

Each year many Vietnamese migrants arrive in France after trekking across Europe in their long and arduous bid to get to the United Kingdom. For hundreds of them the last stop before their attempt to cross the English Channel is a discreet camp at Angres one hundred kilometres from the Port of Calais and which is known locally as 'Vietnam City'. The camp is controlled by traffickers, who are fiercely protective of their 'prime location' next to the main motorway to the Channel and next to a service station where UK-bound lorries park. But as Elisa Perrigueur reports, even if the Vietnamese migrants do make it to Britain, many will find themselves working as modern day slaves on illegal cannabis farms.

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Dusk is falling over the brick building, the red Asian lanterns are shimmering in the cold while a light illuminates the shed next door. Silence reigns despite the fact that there are around 30 people here killing time on this cold evening on February 20th. A few hooded silhouettes are warming their hands while two men are chopping logs with an axe. Others stand smoking around a wood-burning stove in a sleeping area with walls daubed with colourful graffiti and where electric cables hang from the ceiling.