Survivor of human trafficking Duc Nguyen has been saved at the last minute from forced deportation to Vietnam.
Nguyen had been trafficked to the UK, where he was forced to work on a cannabis farm by a drug gang. He was later identified as a victim of modern slavery by the UK Home Office, but it came to light this week that the government was planning to deport him to Vietnam within a matter of days.
Members of the public and Glasgow Greens councillor Kim Long rallied to prevent his deportation, uniting behind the #DucMakesGlasgow campaign spearheaded by Long and backed by Green co-convener Patrick Harvie.
Thousands of people signed a petition calling for a halt to his forced removal, and some even asked Qatar Airways to refuse to fly him.
The National reports that Nguyen feared his traffickers would track him down and kill him in Vietnam:
Duc’s asylum application was denied and he was taken into immigration detention before having the chance to meet with his MP, Labour’s Paul Sweeney.
As eleventh hour appeals were made yesterday, the Home Office said it does not routinely comment on individual cases.
The removal order was made despite official acknowledgement that there were reasonable grounds to conclude that Duc, whose forced labour on a UK cannabis farm resulted in a prison sentence, had been trafficked.
The return flight was scheduled to leave Heathrow yesterday, but Nguyen was not forced to leave the UK.
The churchgoer, who is in his 40s and converted to Christianity in prison, had expressed fear for his life if taken back to Vietnam.
The threat was said to come from the drugs gang that brought him to the UK.
Nguyen is still being held in an immigration detention center, and supporters have launched a crowdfunding site to help pay for his legal costs.
Councillor Long broke the news to Nguyen’s supporters yesterday, saying that they “made sure Duc knew that he was not alone.” However, she cautioned that despite his deportation being put on hold, “there’s a long fight ahead still.”
On Long’s Twitter she thanked everyone who came out to support Nguyen. “We made an amazing thing happen this week. You are all marvellous. For final FINAL words, over to Duc, who says, ‘I just want to say thank you to everyone.'”
Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.