Children among dozens found inside van in suspected human smuggling operation
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Children among dozens found inside van in suspected human smuggling operation

The woman repeatedly stabbed and murdered the man on Friday night. Credit: Belga.

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of human smuggling as part of an ongoing investigation by Antwerp authorities, the local prosecutor confirmed.

Thirteen adults, a minor and two children were found by police on Tuesday inside a light delivery van spotted in a highway parking along the E17 in Gentbrugge, south of Ghent.

Following the discovery, the police arrested three men on suspicion of human smuggling.

“It’s three men of 19, 20 and 27 years old,” the public prosecutor told Het Nieuwsblad, adding that the suspected human smuggling victims were found inside the van’s cargo space.

The arrest of the three men comes after the discovery, at the start of October, of a similar van by police in Arendonk, near the border with the Netherlands, following which the public prosecutor opened a judicial investigation into human smuggling.

The initial findings of the investigation suggested that an organisation was using vans to transport migrants to highway parking lots in Flanders aiming to hide people inside trucks, Gazet Van Antwerpen reports.

The three arrestees will appear before an Antwerp council chamber on Monday, as the investigation to identify the exact role of those involved in the suspected smuggling activities.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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