Dozens of migrants found alive in truck in northern Greece

Police say migrants, mostly Afghans, were in good condition but some received medical care for breathing problems.

Police stopped the truck on a highway near the city of Xanthi for a regular check [Stavros Karipidis/Reuters]
Police stopped the truck on a highway near the city of Xanthi for a regular check [Stavros Karipidis/Reuters]

Police in Greece has found 41 migrants, mostly Afghans, hiding in a refrigerated truck at a motorway near the northeast city of Xanthi.

The discovery on Monday came 10 days after 39 bodies, all believed to be Vietnamese migrants, were discovered in the back of a refrigerated truck near London.

Greek police said the refrigeration system in the truck where the migrants were found had not been turned on, and none of the migrants was injured. Eight were treated in a hospital for breathing problems.

All but two – an Iranian and a Syrian – were from Afghanistan, while six were minors.

Police stopped the truck on the Egnatia motorway between the cities of Xanthi and Komotini for a regular check. They arrested the driver, a man from Georgia, and took him and the migrants to a nearby police station for identification.

Local media reported that police were also seeking a second man from Turkey in connection with the incident.

Greece is currently struggling with the biggest resurgence in refugee arrivals since 2015, when more than a million people crossed into Europe from Turkey via Greece.

About 34,000 asylum seekers and refugees are being held in camps on the Aegean islands close to Turkey.


Meanwhile, in Vietnam, eight more people have been arrested in connection to the 39 people found dead east of London on October 23. 

The incident highlighted the risks of undocumented migration routes to Europe, even for those avoiding perilous travel by sea. 

Most of the victims were believed to be from the Nghe An and the neighbouring province of Ha Tinh, in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, encouragement by authorities, smuggling gangs and environmental disaster all fuel migration.

While some migrants make it safely to England, find employment, and are able to send money home, many others are forced into modern-day slavery when they reach the United KingdomPhysical and sexual abuse is also common during the weeks-long journey.

A 2016 Al Jazeera documentary revealed that many Vietnamese women who were successfully smuggled into the UK manage to find work in nail salons – but some are made to work long hours for little or no pay – and are forced into prostitution in the evening. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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