Home UK Immigration UK migrant ‘Big M’ describes ‘hard pain’ of smuggling victims

UK migrant ‘Big M’ describes ‘hard pain’ of smuggling victims

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Soaking wet and wedged between wheels under a truck, “Big M” arrived in Britain in 2015, saying he had “no choice” but to risk his life.

“You have to do it if you want a better life,” the 34-year-old Chadian told AFP in Manchester, northern England, at the offices of an association that is helping him to apply for asylum.

Big M, as he is known, survived his Channel crossing, unlike 39 people — all believed to be Vietnamese — found dead in Essex, southeastern England, last week.

They had been crammed into the container of a refrigerated truck.

Their tragedy illustrated once again the dangerous, hidden world of people smuggling, with illegal immigrants finding it increasingly difficult to reach Britain owing to tighter controls at Channel ports.

Big M described feeling “hard, hard pain” at the news, as he struggled to find words strong enough to convey his emotions.

Lugging a large backpack filled with documents for his asylum application and English notebooks, the well-dressed Chadian said he understood the victim’s fatal determination.

“It’s very dangerous but it’s life for the human, it’s challenge, you must try to succeed, or you did not try and you live in miserable life,” explained Big M, a nickname coined by his English teacher.

You need to try something you don’t know, maybe you succeed, maybe you lose. This is what they did, and they lost.”

– ‘They killed me once’ –

His own journey began in Chad’s eastern Ouaddai region in late 2006, when he saw soldiers beating a woman.

Big M says he was caught taking out his phone to film the incident, and was seized, tortured and left for dead.

Relatives came to the rescue, and he then fled to Libya, paying a truck driver around 50 euros ($30) to hide among a load of sheep.

Big M became a tailor in Libya and ran his own shop, but volatility triggered by the fall of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime left him no better off.

Because “they killed me once” in Chad, he decided to aim for Europe, paying around $1,000 to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.


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