Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

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This picture shows the lorry, which carried the six women, being investigated by French authorities. — X/@Political_Up
This picture shows the lorry, which carried the six women, being investigated by French authorities. — X/@Political_Up

French authorities on Wednesday rescued six women from the back of a lorry but four of them are now required to leave the country within 30 days, according to a French public prosecutor.

The four Vietnamese and two Iraqi women who were discovered in a lorry believed to be heading for the UK spoke to a BBC journalist who then contacted French police.

While the deportation of four women remains uncertain, the other two have been allowed to remain in France pending asylum requests, according to a statement from the prosecutor, Laetitia Francart.

A public prosecutor at the judicial court of Villefranche-sur-Saône said that the women got into the lorry thinking the Irish-registered vehicle would likely transport them to England, said Francart.

In fact, the lorry was delivering a shipment of bananas to Dunkirk and would then be heading to Italy, BBC reported.

The women believed to be migrants, panicked when they noticed a change in the direction of the lorry by checking their phone locations. One woman, struggling to breathe, contacted a BBC journalist, Khue Luu, who alerted French authorities, allowing them to report their situation.

In the meantime, the lorry driver, suspicious of potential people inside the trailer because of the voices he heard, stopped in a lay-by and called the police, the prosecutor said.

After investigating the lorry, French authorities discovered six women inside the trailer, refrigerated at a temperature of 6°C (42°F). However, the women were reported to be in good health.

The driver was initially arrested upon the discovery, but the prosecutor stated he was not under suspicion of any crime.

While discussing the incident, BBC journalist Luu revealed that she received a phone call from an unknown person on Wednesday, asking for “urgent” help.

Luu contacted someone inside the vehicle who sent messages and videos of their surroundings, showing a dark compartment and fruit boxes.

After gathering information, Luu contacted BBC News colleagues and French reporters, who then contacted the police.

In later texts, the situation inside the lorry appeared to have deteriorated as one woman wrote, “We’re so suffocated.”

Eventually, the news came that French police in the Rhone region had located the vehicle and the women were safe.

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