British police found the six adults and fifteen minors — some as young as 12 years old — among a shipment of sparkling water containers at Newhaven Port. The lorry had been stopped after arriving from Dieppe, a port city in France.
All stowaways are believed to have come from Vietnam and were unharmed. Some of the children were cold, but did not need medical treatment, with social services taking them in.
Andrut Mihai Duma, 29, was arrested and charged with assisting unlawful entry into the UK. Mr. Duma has been taken into custody and will stand trial at a hearing at Lewes Crown Court on November 26. The impending court case will determine what happens with the remaining migrants.
Alp Mehmet, Vice Chairman of Migration Watch UK, told Sputnik that the incident demonstrates how much people smugglers disregard the lives and safety of illegal migrants.
"This shows the depths to which people smugglers will sink to smuggle anyone prepared to pay huge amounts to get into the UK," Mehmet said, adding that human traffickers "have little regard for the safety of those they smuggle, even if it means risking the lives of children."
"This is an evil practice that the government has to do more to counter."
Police discovered a similar incident after two Ukrainian nationals were found guilty of assisting unlawful immigration in May last year.
Vladyslav Kurtoglu, 50, and his accomplice, 29-year-old Dmitryo Kruik were caught smuggling six Ukrainian migrants on their yacht.
A Border Force Coastal Patrol vessel intercepted the yacht, which was en route to the UK from Barfleur, France, near Hayling Island and escorted it to Sparkes Marina.
Both men had no fixed British address, authorities found, and the suspects were found guilty on February 5.