The 39 people found dead in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex were Chinese nationals, sources have said.
Detectives are continuing to question the vehicle’s 25-year-old driver, who has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Officers in Northern Ireland have raided two houses and the National Crime Agency said it was working to identify “organised crime groups who may have played a part”.
The trailer arrived in Purfleet on the River Thames from Zeebrugge in Belgium.
Ambulance staff discovered the bodies of the 38 adults and one teenager in the container at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays just after 01:30 BST on Wednesday.
The lorry and trailer left the port at Purfleet shortly after 01:05.
Police said the tractor unit – the front part of the lorry – came from Northern Ireland and picked up the trailer from Purfleet.
The Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office said it had opened a case which would focus on the organisers and others involved in the transport.
A spokesman said the container arrived in Zeebrugge at 14:29 on Tuesday and left the port later that afternoon before arriving in Purfleet in the early hours of Wednesday.
It was not clear when the victims were placed in the container or if this happened in Belgium, he said.