157 children from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo are among the 220 human trafficking victims rescued in an operation coordinated by INTERPOL. Just after 157 children from Nigeria and other African countries were rescued by INTERPOL, it was gathered that a number of human trafficking victims were forced into prostitution. Ongoing investigation has led to the arrest of 47 people, as vehicles, cash, mobile phones and computers were also recovered.
The statement read in part;
Forced labor and exploitation: Evidence in the region shows that victims of trafficking are recruited and trafficked using deception and coercion, and held in bondage in various labour intensive activities. Many of the 157 rescued minors were moved around as ‘merchandise’ themselves across the border, and made to work in markets all day, peddling goods, fetching water, cooking, carrying heavy loads, or working as housemaids. Some were the victims of sexual exploitation. The children were aged between 11 and 16, with the youngest rescued at the land border between Benin and Nigeria. There, police found a boy who had been forced to carry clandestinely between the two countries heavy goods such as bags of rice weighing up to 40 kg. All the victims originated from Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.
“Human trafficking is a transnational crime from which the vulnerable, especially children, simply cannot walk away.” said Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General “This operation underlines the need for cross-border collaboration between law enforcement and all stakeholders to ensure that together we can enhance our prevention, protection and prosecution efforts,” added the INTERPOL Chief.