Several investigators inspect the truck in which the bodies were found | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/S.Rousseau
Several investigators inspect the truck in which the bodies were found | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/S.Rousseau

British prosecutors have charged a 23-year-old man over the deaths of 39 people from Vietnam in a refrigeration truck. The case has highlighted the dangers of illegal migration to Britain.

UK police said Sunday that a 23-year-old man from Northern Ireland had been charged with human trafficking offenses in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals whose bodies were found in a refrigeration truck in England last month.

The man, identified as Charles Kennedy from County Armagh, was arrested early on Friday on the M40 motorway.

A truck driver, Maurice Robinson, 25, also from Northern Ireland, has already been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and other offenses over the deaths. Another suspect is being held in Ireland, and three more people have been arrested, questioned and released on bail.

Forced by poverty

The bodies of the eight women and 31 men were found on October 23 on an industrial estate in the town of Grays in the English county of Essex. The container in which they were held had arrived by ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Many of the victims were from central Vietnam. Many families in the impoverished region have gone heavily into debt to pay human traffickers to get their children to Britain in the hope that they could find well-paid employment there.

Vietnamese nationals who have illegally entered Britain are often employed in nail bars or on illegal cannabis farms.

 tj/ng (AFP, AP)

First published: November 24, 2019

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