Patrol said they found the freezing migrants in a parking area next to the autobahn in southern Germany on Sunday, in temperatures of minus -20C.
They expressed officers they had travelled from Iraq, Iran and Syria.
They each availed between €500 to €800 to be taken to Germany from a refugee focus in Italy.
The smuggler apparently took the migrants just over the German hem with Austria, to near Brannenburg before callously dumping them on the roadside and take leave of them for dead.
Police said in a statement a mun hunt had so far been bootless for the driver of the van.
Four of the migrant children were taken into the fancy of a youth welfare office. The other migrants were taken to a greeting centre for refugees, police said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door conducts have allowed into Germany about 1.1 million displaced people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere since mid-2015.
The migrant current has slowed sharply, but Mrs Merkel’s conservative Bavarian allies want an annual migr cap — a demand she has refused.