Essex Police Find 39 Bodies in Truck

  • The discovery came hours after emergency services were alerted of the availability of ‘people’ inside a container transported by a truck.
  • “This is a tragic incident in which a large number of people lost their lives,” said local police chief Andrew Mariner.
  • "I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex," the Prime Minister tweeted.

Essex police found 39 bodies in a truck in an industrial area Wednesday in the town of Grays in Essex County. The 25-year-old driver of the truck has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The United Kingdom is a destination country for men, women, and children primarily from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe who are subjected to human trafficking for the purposes of sexual slavery and forced labor, including domestic servitude. Precise details about the extent of human trafficking within the UK are not available.

The discovery came hours after emergency services were alerted of the availability of ‘people’ inside a container transported by a truck. Police were later notified of the discovery of the bodies in the city, 32 kilometers from London. Agents confirmed they found the bodies of 38 adults and one teenager at Waterglade Industrial Park. The site was isolated by the authorities. The driver from Northern Ireland is being interrogated by the local police.

“This is a tragic incident in which a large number of people lost their lives,” said local police chief Andrew Mariner, adding that investigations to determine what exactly transpired were ongoing. Mariner said agents are trying to identify the dead, although he warned that this process “could be time-consuming.” He added that the priority of the investigation is to find out who the victims are and to determine the route taken by the truck.

Police believe the truck is from the Belgian port city of Zeebrugge and was secretly sneaked into the UK, even though earlier reports indicated that the truck was from Bulgaria. Authorities have, in the meantime, avoided calling the incident human trafficking, but because of the way the victims were found crammed into the container, there is evidence of the crime.

Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, and London to the south-west.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was shocked by the case. “I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex. I am receiving regular updates, and the Home Office will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened. My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones,” the prime minister tweeted.

Earlier, the truck was suspected of having emerged from Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, in reaction, has said it is checking the information, and still has no way to confirm that the truck actually departed from there. Irish officials have announced that they will do the necessary investigations to clarify whether the vehicle has passed through the country.

For years, illegal immigrants have been trying to reach the United Kingdom, hidden in trucks from continental European countries. The biggest tragedy involving illegal immigrants in the region occurred in the year 2000, when British customs officials found the bodies of 58 Chinese immigrants in a truck carrying tomatoes in Dover harbor. In 2015, at the height of the migration crisis, 71 refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan were found dead in a refrigerated truck that was abandoned on a highway in Austria near the Hungarian border.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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