Voice of the Mirror: Discovery of bodies in lorry should shake our consciences

The discovery of 39 bodies in a lorry in Essex should shake the conscience of the country.

This is a heartbreaking and appalling tragedy which is made all the worse by the fact it could have been prevented.

These are not 39 nameless individuals.

They are people with families and loved-ones and it seems they were prepared to risk everything for a new start in this country.

We don’t know their nationalities or who was responsible for their tragic deaths.

What we do know is the vile trade in people trafficking is rife and unless we act there will be more exploitation and more deaths.

The victims are usually refugees fleeing war-torn north Africa and the Middle East.

On arrival in the UK they are frequently forced into domestic servitude, slave labour, criminal activity or are sexually exploited.

The penalties are there – people trafficking carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. But the enforcement is not.

If we want to tackle this abhorrent practice we need greater surveillance at ports and increased international collaboration.

Beeb bashing

Boris Johnson cannot keep passing the buck on the decision to axe free TV licences for the over 75s.

The Prime Minister stood on a manifesto promise to protect this important lifeline.

Now he is trying to wriggle out of this commitment by blaming the BBC.

His tough talk about putting the screws on the station won’t wash. He knows the broadcaster does not have funds to cover the cost.

Instead of trying to duck his responsibility he should, for once, stick to his word and give the BBC the money it needs.

Oh no knee isn’t

Christopher Biggins is having pain-killing injections in his knee to see him through panto season.

The audience may be wanting the same when they hear some of his old jokes.

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