The People Trade

Страница 2

People-smuggling networks are the travel agents of illegal immigration. Their business is big and growing. The networks trafficking in Chinese migrants alone are said to take in three billion dollars a year. As the stakes and numbers rise, so do the risks. Last year 300000 undocumented immigrants made it do Italy. Many died trying. So far this year 180 people are known to have died in Italian waters - often pushed into the sea and left to drown by smugglers trying to lighten their boats to get away from Italian coast-guard patrols. Four days before the deaths at Dover, a Dutch organization, United for Intercultural Action, announced that more than 2000 refugees and migrants have died trying to get to Europe. Perhaps an incident like the death truck in Dover was inevitable. "It is True you would treat your tomatoes better then [ the smugglies ] treated these people," says Wim De-Bruin, a spokesman for the National Public Prosecutor's Office in Rotterdam. "But the difference is that with tomatoes and other goods, you get paid when you deliver them in good condition."

At the end of last week, the bodies found in Dover remained unidentified. But British authorities believe the Chinese began their journey in Fujian 30000 Dollars a head clients of an extensive smuggling network that move them from home to the English Channel lush coastal province in southeast China, Fujian is the main starting point on China's emigrant traik ( box). Fujian is by no means China's poorest province, but it sends an estimated 100000 emigrants abroad each year. People call one town "widows' village" because so many men have left their women behind. The Pressure to leave Fujian is social as well as economic. "It's like if you are not a lazy person, then you shouldn't be in mainland China," says Ko-Lin Chin , a professor at Rutgers University in the United States. "People will say, "You're not in your early 20s: why are you still here?"

As news of what happened in Dover reached the province, grieving spread quickly. Fujian has sent so many of its sons and daughters abroad that nobody was sure who had perished or not in the death truck. He Xiaohong was terrified that her 24 - year old husband, and odd job painter named Cao Xianxin, was among the dead in Dover. On May 10 he left home for Britain, comforted by a promise that on his long journey he would be "as safe as a tourist." He Xiaohong was in tears last week as she vowed: "If my husband returns safely, he'll have to beat me to death before I ever let him travel abroad like this again."

The journey to the West is called "sneaking across the water." It's made possible by Fujainese guides known as "snakeheads." They are important figures in their homeland. "Everybody knows who the snakeheads are," says Chen Mei Xing, a Fijianese who slipped into England a few weeks ago. "He's a businessman with a very hihg status." According to USA authorities, snakeheads are also part of Chinese gangs known as Triads or Tongs. They Charge as much as 60000 dollars for a trip to the United States; half as much for Britain. Typically, a down payment of 5 to 19 percent is made up front. A migrant who uses the snakehead's services can spend years repaying the debt. The Fijianese who emigrate see the fee as a smart investment. In the end Fujian benefits too. Fujianese migrants pump large sums of money into the economy they left behind. City officials in Changle ( population: 600000) estimate that locals who have gone abroad put 100 million dollars back into the city's economy each year in remittances to their families and property investments back home.

Not that long ago the destination more often than not was America ("The beautiful country"). But in 1993 a freighter called the Golden Venture ran aground off Long Island, and 10 Chinese immigrants drowned trying to swim to shore. The incident promted a series of crackdowns by the U.S. government. Thousands of Chinese still migrate to America - earlier this year, three Fujiance were found dead in a shipping container in Seattle - but some of the traffic had shifted to other countries.

Перейти на страницу номер:
 1  2  3  4 
Скачать реферат Скачать реферат


Реклама

Разделы сайта

Последние рефераты