The migrants, who do not possess the right paperwork to be in the country, were stuck in the cargo space of the lorry and wanted the police to get them out.
The police found no fewer than 17 undocumented people in the lorry including a woman and two children. The vehicle was travelling along the E19 Antwerp Breda motorway towards the Netherlands. The lorry's Polish driver said he had no knowledge of the stowaways.
Police warn against such travel say that it is particularly dangerous travelling in a cargo space that has been hermetically closed as oxygen supplies are not guaranteed and people can easily suffocate. After being freed the migrants were taken to Wilrijk police station in mini buses.
It’s thought the migrants, who are of Iranian, Iraqi, Vietnamese and Syrian nationality, climbed on board the lorry in Calais (France) thinking the vehicle was bound for the UK.