A truck full of bodies presumed to be refugees was just found on the side of a highway in Austria, where politicians are gathering this week to brainstorm how to make it more difficult for migrant workers to escape their hellish existences.
According to the New York Times, police found the truck, packed with “partly decomposing bodies,” abandoned on a highway east of Vienna early Thursday morning. Authorities say there were at least 20 bodies, though they estimate there could be as many as 50.
The grisly discovery coincided with the start of a conference in Vienna on how to make the Balkans more secure and prosperous, partly as a means to stop the flight of thousands seeking better economic conditions in Austria, Germany and other, more wealthy parts of the European Union. The conference is being attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Balkan heads of government.
“We are all shaken by this terrible news that up to 50 people have lost their lives because they got into a situation where smugglers did not care about their lives,” Merkel told the Times before the conference dedicated in part to keeping refugees out of Europe.
The proposed initiatives on the table for debate—which include a Serbian border fence—would, as the Times points out, stop the flow of migrants with the added benefit of increased business for human traffickers.