Vietnamese migrant file


Essex drama suspects in Belgium in court

The trial against the suspects, who according to the Belgian Justice Department were involved in the fatal transport of 39 Vietnamese to the British town of Essex, started this week in the Bruges court. It has been two years since their dead bodies were found by British police in a refrigerated container.

16 Dec 2021

The Belgian suspects behind the drama in Essex

Following the discovery of 39 dead in Essex, England, a network of people smugglers has been uncovered in Belgium. A Belgian investigation against the main suspect had been underway for months before the deadly transport.

16 Dec 2021

The Belgian suspects behind the drama in Essex in which 39 people died in a cold store

Following the discovery of 39 dead in Essex, England, a network of people smugglers has been uncovered in Belgium. A Belgian investigation against the main suspect was already running months before the deadly transport. Next week, a total of 27 suspects have to appear in court. The hub of the network risks fifteen years in prison.

16 Dec 2021

De dood van Quyen en Hieu

Why did the Dutch authorities not intervene in the pursuit of two Vietnamese teenagers, who later died in the 'Essex drama'? Two years after their death, the trial of a large group of suspects starts in Belgium. Perhaps now there will finally be clarity about the role of the Dutch and Belgian authorities.

3 Nov 2021

Prix Europa nominates two Lost in Europe stories

We are honored that both the radio story 'The Final Journey of Quyen and Hieu', made by founder Sanne Terlingen, and the tv-documentary 'Handelsware Kind' by Adrian Bartocha and Jan Wiese have been nominated in categories Radio Current Affairs and TV Current Affairs by the Prix Europa. The awards will be presented on 10-15 October, find more info here.

5 Oct 2021

24 June: Webinar 'Investigating Human Trafficking'

Join the webinar organised by the at You will receive tips on how to dig into human trafficking, sex exploitation and labour abuse. And you will discuss the best ways to cooperate with civil society groups that offer protection to victims of trafficking and slavery. The webinar will be in English, with Hindi translation available. Sign up on the website

16 Jun 2021
Vietnamese migrant file

Lost in Europe has won the IJ4EU Impact Award!

Wow, Lost in Europe has won the IJ4EU Impact Award! We were nominated because of our ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Vietnamese minors in Europe. Thanks to Impact Award judges for recognising our work. The jury said “Lost in Europe shone an important light on the terrible story of missing migrant children".

The first prize worldwide for cross border journalism. So we are very proud and thankful.
IJ4EU Awarded our investigation into the disappearances and exploitation of Vietnamese minors in Europe.

This research is very special for us, because it was our first big research. We have learned 3 things;
1. How vulnerable the children in trafficking are, that they are actually being exploited. And that our journalistic ethics must be of a high standard.
2. How seriously we need to take the disappearances from reception centres, even if the authorities sometimes make us believe otherwise.
3. Plus how valuable joint efforts of cross border investigations are in these cases because criminal organisations do not respect borders either.

Therefore, special thanks goes to:
The team that investigated the exploitation of Vietnamese minors in nail bars in Belguim; Kristof Clerix (Knack), Doruntina Islamaj (VRT) and Roeland Termote and Wouter Woussen (De Standaard)
Trafficking of Vietnamese minors in Germany, investigated by Adrian Bartocha and Jan Wiesse for Rbb recherche and ARD
The so-called destination country for Vietnamese minors: the UK. Ismail Einashe published in  The Guardian.
And the disappearances from protected shelters in the Netherlands were covered by Huub Jaspers and Sanne Terlingen for Argos Onderzoekt.

15 Apr 2021

We are nominated for an IJ4EU Impact Award!

We are happy to tell you that Lost in Europe is nominated for an IJ4EU Impact Award! This nomination is for the ungoing investigation for the Vietnamese migrant files. The winners of the awards will be announced tonight at 18:00 CEST. Register for #uncovered to follow the award ceremony live. Only three projects can win, so keep your fingers crossed for us!

14 Apr 2021

Documentary screening Uncovered festival

Today, the Uncovered Conference features the Lost in Europe documentary ‘Children as Commodities: The Human Trafficking Mafia’. Are you joining us for the screening?

The documentary tells the story of how it’s possible that Vietnamese children and young people have been disappearing in Germany for years. And it shows the networks of human traffickers that are behind it. The documentary was made by investigative journalists Jan Wiese and Adrian Bartocha. After the screening there is a Q&A where you have the opportunity to submit your questions to Jan Wiese, Adrian Bartocha and Sanne Terlingen

Sign up using this link and be there at 15:45 CEST!

14 Apr 2021

The last journey of Quyen and Hieu

Argos again pays attention to the fate of Vietnamese children after their arrival in Europe. Two years ago, we revealed that at least 60 Vietnamese children were missing from shelters that should protect them from human traffickers. After that broadcast, a major investigation was launched into "the nature and extent of Vietnamese human trafficking in the Netherlands". In Belgium and Germany, fellow journalists are also putting the subject on the political agenda. The German colleagues made this documentary (English subtitles) about it.

How could things - despite the attention of politicians and police - end so badly with Hieu and Quyen? For the first time, Quyen and Hieu's lawyer tells their story. And, with the help of Belgian and German colleagues from Lost in Europe, we find new puzzle pieces about the last, fatal journey of the two boys.

18 Mar 2021

Lost in Europe is nominated

Our investigation into the disappearence of Vietnamese children is nominated and on the shortlist for the #IJ4EU impact award European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).

12 Feb 2021

Van Quickenborne also has "many questions" about Essex victims

More went wrong than was known when following two Vietnamese victims of the Essex drama.

4 Feb 2021

From Hanoi to the death in a refrigerated van

For almost a year and a half, the minor Tran Ngoc Hieu has been traveling from Vietnam to the United Kingdom. When he finally arrived on British soil, he was dead or dying of overheating in a closed refrigerated van, which he shared with 38 others.

31 Jan 2021

Sanne Terlingen tells about the last voyage of Quyen and Hieu on tv

Co-founder of Lost in Europe and investigative journalist Sanne Terlingen tells on national television about the crossborder investigation into the last voyage of Quyen and Hieu. These two Vietnamese boys were captured in protected shelters in the Netherlands. Yet they, and 37 other migrants were killed in the Essex disaster. Watch Sanne's television performance from minute 22 at the Dutch 5 Uur Show at SBS6.

25 Jan 2021

The last journey of Quyen and Hieu

In October 2019, 39 dead bodies were found in a refrigerated truck in Essex - near London. The victims are all from Vietnam. They died from overheating and suffocation. Two of them, Tran Ngoc Hieu (17) and Dinh Dinh Thai Quyen (just 18), turn out to have run away from the Protected Shelter in The Netherlands near Maastricht twelve days earlier.

23 Jan 2021

"Dutch Police should have intervened on last voyage of Vietnamese Essex victims"

The Vietnamese boys Hieu and Quyen died in the smuggling drama in Essex. During their last trip they were under observation by the Dutch police all the way into Belgium, but they did not intervene. This should have been, say two professors.

23 Jan 2021

Interview Adrian Bartocha: 'This is serious organized crime'

Interview with investigative journalist Adrian Bartocha on human trafficking with Vietnamese minors in Europe. He and Jan Wiese of the RBB, the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, saw the Argos investigation into the disappearance of dozens of Vietnamese children in the Netherlands and started their own investigation. They discovered that many more Vietnamese children have disappeared in Germany and that there is organized human trafficking.

Language: Dutch
18 Jan 2021

Confirmed: 'Trade with Vietnamese children across Europe'

“Vietnamese criminal organizations are active all over Europe”. This is what Carsten Moritz, director of the human trafficking department of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the federal criminal investigation department of Germany, says in an interview with the RBB, the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg. The groups are involved in human trafficking on a large scale. "But that smuggling serves a purpose: labor exploitation." In many cases this is human trafficking, says the BKA chief. According to him, there are also minors among the victims. Moritz responds to research that the RBB has conducted in recent months together with Argos (VPRO / HUMAN). Tonight on Germany 1 a television documentary about this.

Language: Dutch
18 Jan 2021

Human trafficking made easy: How Vietnamese Children Are Exploited

For years, professional Vietnamese human trafficking networks have been operating almost unmolested in Germany. They bring their compatriots there and exploit them: in nail salons or massage parlors, but increasingly also in forced prostitution or in drug production. In most cases this crime goes undetected. According to official information, there are hardly any Vietnamese victims of human trafficking in Germany. The real dimension of the problem remains hidden from the general public. This is also due to the fact that the Federal Republic has not yet followed up on its international obligations. A reportage from Adrian Bartocha and Jan Wiese.

14 Jan 2021

Congratulations to team members Kristof Clerix and Doruntina Islamaj

Team members Kristof Clerix, Doruntina Islamaj and Roeland Termote have won the Belfius press prize, for their articles about Modern Slavery in Belgium, about human trafficking and exploitation in Vietnamese nail salons. Read more in Knack.

Read their prizewinning articles here:

Knack: Knack onderzoekt: zwartwerk, uitbuiting en mensenhandel in Belgische nagelsalons
De Standaard: Nagels lakken om smokkelaars terug te betalen
VRT: De echte prijs van goedkope nagels: steeds meer moderne slavernij en uitbuiting in Belgische nagelsalons

26 Nov 2020

EU Anti-Trafficking Day

Today is EU Anti-Trafficking Day. That is why Free Press Unlimited and Defence for Children made a series in which the fight against human trafficking is viewed from three perspectives: from the perspective of journalism, the justice system and the protected shelter.

Lost in Europe is featured in the series. The Lost in Europe investigative journalists Doruntina Islamaj and Roeland Termote speak about the approach to their investigation into the exploitation of Vietnamese minors in Belgian nail salons, the impact it had, and the importance of good international cooperation in the fight against human trafficking.

Read the interview here:

And watch the video

18 Oct 2020

Leak sensitive information of human trafficking victims

Personal details of human trafficking victims were published on the public internet by COA, the governmental refugee organization of the Netherlands. This leak of sensitive information concerning hundreds of vulnerable people may compromise ongoing judiciary proceedings. Article by Lost in Europe's mediapartner NRC Handelsblad.

23 Jun 2020
Vietnamese migrant file

Sanne Terlingen nominated for Tegel award

Sanne Terlingen of the Lost in Europe collective has been nominated for the Tegel journalism award! This is in the category News, for her revelations around Vietnamese migrants who went missing from protective shelters in the Netherlands.

20 Apr 2020

Indications of human trafficking confirmed

After our journalists revealed last year that 60 Vietnamese children vanished from a protected shelter that should have protected them from being trafficked, the entire House of Representatives demanded an investigation. Argos zooms in on the main findings of the report. How thorough was the research done? What has been discovered? And has that been neatly presented by the State Secretary?

28 Mar 2020

State secretary pretends missing Vietnamese children have gone backpacking

In a letter to the House of Representatives, the State Secretary pretends that Vietnamese minors use protected asylum centers as hostels. Anyone who reads the underlying report sees a failing approach to human smuggling and human trafficking. Dutch Rapporteur Mensenhandel says The Netherlands acts too little with signals of human trafficking.

25 Mar 2020

Almost all young Vietnamese in protected shelters disappear

Vietnamese minors leave the protected shelter in the Netherlands with an unknown destination. Two of them tragically died in late October 2019 in a refrigerated truck in Essex, UK, together with 37 other migrants. Researchers see signs of human trafficking and smuggling. How could this happen? Our journalists paid a visit to one of these shelters.

23 Mar 2020

Second victim of truck drama Essex also stayed in Dutch shelters

Not one, but two victims of the truck drama in Essex stayed in a sheltered shelter in the Netherlands prior to their death. This has emerged from an identification investigation by the police, the COA (Central Organ for Asylum-seekers intake) confirms to Argos and NRC Handelsblad when asked.

23 Mar 2020

Vietnamese children vanished from protected shelters. And our government knew

The Dutch government has known for over five years that Vietnamese children go missing from protected shelters. Signs of human smuggling and trafficking have also been clearly reported to authorities. This is shown by quarterly reports of protected reception centres Jade and Xonar, that Argos and Lost in Europe have obtained.

read at VPRO Argos
Language: Dutch
11 Mar 2020

Dutch governmnent has known about missing Vietnamese children for years

The Dutch government has known for over five years that Vietnamese children go missing from protected shelters. Signs of human smuggling and trafficking have also been clearly reported to authorities. This is shown by quarterly reports of protected reception centres Jade and Xonar, that Argos and Lost in Europe have obtained.

read at VPRO Argos
Language: Dutch
9 Mar 2020

Major police raid against Vietnamese smugglers. Action in Berlin

Young Vietnamese, waiting for their onward transport to West Germany, France, Holland or the UK were found during a large raid conducted by a massive police force in numerous properties in the greater Berlin area. It's one of the largest proceedings against human smuggling that has entered its decisive phase. The officers searched 21 "Safe Houses" in which the smugglers house smuggled Vietnamese. There they also secured data carriers and other documents.

3 Mar 2020

The disappearance of Hong, Bao, Huong and Thi

It is the end of November 2016 when Hong, Bao, Huong and Thi get into a car with a Dutch registration number in a Parisian suburb. Since then there has been no trace of them '. What does the disappearance of young Vietnamese have to do with Dutch cannabis cultivation?

21 Jan 2020

Vietnamese victim of truck drama disappeared from Dutch shelter

One of the 39 Vietnamese found dead in a refrigerated truck in Essex, England, stayed in the Netherlands prior to his crossing. It concerns a minor boy who "with unknown destination" disappeared from the protected shelter. A spokesperson for the COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) confirms this to our journalists at Argos.

23 Nov 2019

Vietnamese discovered dead in Essex smuggled through Berlin

Several of the Vietnamese victims who were found lifeless in a refrigerated container in Essex, England in October, had been in Berlin before their death, Dutch investigative journalists at Argos and rbb24 Recherche find. Not an isolated case: in the past few years, the smuggling of young Vietnamese into Western Europe has increased significantly.

22 Nov 2019

Vietnamese deaths highlight the weakness of measures meant to protect them

The Essex drama highlights how the UK has become an epicentre for trafficked Vietnamese in Europe. For years, Vietnamese have been trafficked into the UK in trucks arriving from Belgium or France – so this latest incident would seem like nothing out of the ordinary. But what has shifted is the age of the people involved – they are younger and the tactics of their traffickers are more dangerous.

read in The Article
Language: English
14 Nov 2019

Undeclared work, exploitation and human trafficking in Belgian nail salons

Dirt cheap Vietnamese nail salons are sprouting like mushrooms in Belgium. But a dark reality hides behind the shiny display cases, according to research by Lost in Europe journalists at Knack, De Standaard and VRT NWS. Some salons are a link in an international chain of modern slavery.

3 Jul 2019

The real price of cheap nails: modern slavery and exploitation

Cheap nail salons in Belgium appear to be places for human trafficking, undeclared work and modern slavery. Young Vietnamese, often underage, work for a starvation wage. To get to Europe, they paid thousands of smuggling euros to criminal networks. Our Lost in Europe colleagues in Belgium investigated the growing world of Vietnamese nail salons.

2 Jul 2019

44 Vietnamese minors went missing from Belgium shelters

Since 2017, 44 Vietnamese minors have disappeared in Belgium from the Belgian reception centers for unaccompanied minors. The Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil) confirms this to VRT NWS, Knack and De Standaard. Nobody knows where the young people ended up.

2 Jul 2019

44 Vietnamese minors vanished from sight in Belgium

Since 2017, 44 Vietnamese young people vanished from our Observation and Orientation Centers (OOC)', says Fedasil. 'All went missing, but 1 young person who received adapted shelter as a potential victim of human trafficking. The vast majority of these youngsters do not apply for asylum. The majority disappears within 24 hours of arrival.'

2 Jul 2019

How Vietnamese children end up as slave laborers

32 Vietnamese children and adolescents are currently missing in Brandenburg. Investigators suspect internationally operating human traffickers behind it. The Berlin Dong Xuan Center apparently plays an important role in the network. By Adrian Bartocha

20 Jun 2019

The disappeared children

Smuggled in, picked up, disappeared - nationwide there is a lack of clarity about the fate of illegally immigrated children from Vietnam. Apparently there is an international smuggling network behind it.

20 Jun 2019

Vietnamese children vanish from Dutch shelters to be trafficked into Britain

The findings of the investigation raise serious questions about the efforts of EU states to prevent the trafficking of vulnerable children, and highlight the failings of the British and Dutch authorities to care for unaccompanied minors properly. There are more Vietnamese children than any other nationality identified or suspected of being trafficked into the UK.

30 Mar 2019

Dozens of Vietnamese children disappeared from protected shelter

At least sixty Vietnamese children disappeared after their arrival in the Netherlands. For the past five years, they had been placed in protected reception centers for unaccompanied minors who are at high risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.

30 Mar 2019