An international response is required to the global migration crisis, and Britain has a responsibility to play its partThe known facts about how 39 people died in a lorry in Essex this week remain sparse, stark and shocking. The 31 male and eight female victims were all adults and, it became clear on Thursday, all were Chinese nationals. They arrived in Britain from Belgium by sea, in a refrigerated container, shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning. The container was then attached to the back of a lorry that had come from Northern Ireland via Holyhead and was driven to an industrial estate in Essex, where it was discovered about an hour later. There were no survivors.

Fundamental parts of the story remain unclear and are under active investigation. The most important of these is to discover who the victims were and to tell their stories. Did they enter the container willingly or under duress? Who was responsible for loading them into the container? By what route did they reach Essex? Were they being trafficked or were they migrants entering the country illegally? Answers to all these questions are essential. For this appears to amount to mass murder.

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