A harrowing video shows the moment immigrants were released from a shipping container at Tilbury.
An international homicide probe has been launched to snare the human traffickers exploiting the group, who may have been fleeing persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists.
Essex Police and the Border Force have begun questioning the group at an immigration reception centre near the port after they were treated for dehydration and hypothermia at hospitals in Southend, Basildon and London.
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Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are working with Belgian police, Interpol and other international agencies to net the gang who helped the group into the container, which arrived at Tilbury from Belgium.
Belgian police have CCTV of a lorry delivering the shipping container to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, where it departed for Tilbury, but are yet to identify the driver or company involved.
The immigrants were sealed in the 8ft by 20ft container for at least 12 hours as the footage showed it arrive at the port at about 6pm on Friday before being loaded just after 8pm.