Essex human trafficking case: Mortal remains of 39 Vietnamese victims repatriated to Vietnam

The remains of 23 victims were sent to Vietnam early on Saturday, while the remains of 16 victims were repatriated earlier this week

The last of the mortal remains of 39 Vietnamese nationals who were found dead inside a truck in Essex County were repatriated to Vietnam on Saturday. It was reported that a government official confirmed the arrival of the bodies of 23 victims at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi on Saturday.

The official Vietnam News Agency said that the bodies of seven of the 23 victims were cremated before being sent to Vietnam. Earlier this week, the remains of 16 victims were received by relatives at their home towns in northern-central Vietnam.

The distraught father of a male victim who had left for Britain seeking a better life, said, "How could I describe how big this loss is for my family...but the return of his body has helped ease the pain," as per Reuters.

Found in a truck on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, on October 23 the victims included 8 women, and 31 men and boys. The youngest of the victims was under 18 years of age, while the oldest was a 44-year-old reportedly.

Action against perpetrators

Dead body

The Vietnamese police are said to have 10 people into custody in connection with the deaths earlier this month. On Monday, Maurice Robinson, a 25-year-old Northern Irish man who drove the truck, pled guilty to assisting unlawful immigration and to acquiring criminal property.

Another 23-year-old Northern Irish man, Christopher Kennedy, was charged separately with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of people with a view to exploitation and to facilitate the breach of UK immigration law

Illegal human trafficking to the West

Horrifying the world, the incident has put under scrutiny the illicit trafficking of poor people from countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, into European countries. This is not the first widely reported instance of illegal human trafficking to Britain in recent years.

In August 2014, the British police found 35 people, mostly Afghan Sikhs, in a shipping container near Tilbury Docks, Essex. Two 34-year-old men, Timothy Murphy and Stephen McLaughlin, for a similar incident, were arrested for conspiring to enable illegal entry into the UK.

(With agency inputs)