LONDON — The police on Friday released the names, ages and home provinces of the 39 Vietnamese people who were found dead in a refrigerated trailer in southeastern England last month, after dozens of families in north-central Vietnam had waited weeks for confirmation that their missing relatives were among the victims.
Among the victims was Pham Thi Tra My, 26, from a village in Ha Tinh, Vietnam, who had texted her mother hours before the bodies were discovered, “I’m sorry, Mom, my path abroad didn’t succeed.”
Ms. Pham added: “Mom, I love you and Dad so much! I’m dying because I can’t breathe.”
She had tried to reach Britain, convinced that she could find a job as a manicurist and help her family, who had accumulated $19,000 in debt.
Two others were identified as Nguyen Huy Hung and Nguyen Huy Hung, both 15. Another victim, Tran Ngoc Hieu, was 17.
The grisly discovery of the bodies in October shed a grim light on human trafficking and smugglers who prey on desperate people trying to reach Europe for a better future. The journey has been undertaken by an estimated 18,000 Vietnamese people a year.
The police said in the statement that the Vietnamese and British governments were working together to repatriate the victims’ bodies.
“Our priority has been to identify the victims, to preserve the dignity of those who have died and to support the victims’ friends and families,” said Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith of Essex Police, the senior officer overseeing the investigation.
Mr. Smith said in the statement that the families had been “given some time to absorb this tragic news before we publicly confirmed their loved one’s identity.”