Abidjan, Ivory Coast | AFP | Ivory Coast authorities have rescued 137 children from neighbouring countries who were destined to work as labourers or prostitutes, the national body fighting child labour said Monday.
The operation took place last week in the country’s east, the National Monitoring Committee (CNS) to fight child labour and trafficking.
“We have been able to rescue 137 children who are victims of trafficking and exploitation,” the body quoted Kouadio Yeboue Marcellin, the number two government official in the eastern border region of Aboisso, which borders Ghana, as saying.
“The rescued children are from Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Ghana and Togo,” he said.
The CNS, which is headed by First Lady Dominique Ouattara, said 12 traffickers had been arrested.
“The Nigerian girls were destined for prostitution,” it said, adding that the others were slated to perform arduous jobs. The ages of the children varied from six to 17.
The rescues followed police checks in buses for unaccompanied minors and raids in villages.
Child labour is prevalent in Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer of both cocoa and cashewnuts.