A group of 35 men, women and children found inside a shipping container at a UK port are understood to be Sikhs from Afghanistan who are victims of “people trafficking”, British police said.
The police had described them as people believed to be from the Indian subcontinent and questioned some of them.
“They were treated for severe dehydration and hypothermia before being taken to a detention centre. They are being held under UK immigration laws and it is expected they will be interviewed through interpreters at the immigration centre near Tilbury, a Times of India report said.
“Essex Police described the men, women and children as victims of “people trafficking” and are working with Interpol and other international authorities to try to establish what happened. Many of the survivors spent the night in hospital but none is thought to have suffered serious injury. One man is believed to have been questioned by officers already and most of the others have been discharged from hospital,” the report said.
“The Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) has confirmed being in contact with UK authorities to ascertain their nationality. The discovery was made after the container arrived from the Belgian village of Zeebrugge early on Saturday morning when “screaming and banging” were heard coming from inside,” the report said.
“It is a homicide investigation…we will be looking to see where the origin and the gangs or whoever may [be] involved in this conspiracy to bring these people in this way over to this country. Clearly we need to try and bring them to justice,” Supt Trevor Roe of Essex Police told reporters at a press conference.