Human trafficking: Interpol conducts massive raids across West Africa, arrests 40 suspects, rescues 500 victims

Migrants at sea
Migrant boat used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: CBC]

Forty people were arrested and 500 people rescued after a swoop on human trafficking across West Africa, international police organisation, Interpol, said on Thursday.

The Interpol-led action comes amid a global outcry sparked by footage of Africans being sold as slaves in Libya, often the final transit for migrants wanting to reach Europe.

In a statement, Interpol said that some 500 people, including 236 minors, had been rescued in simultaneous operations across Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

Forty suspected traffickers were arrested.

“The results of this operation underline the challenge faced by law enforcement and all stakeholders in addressing human trafficking in the Sahel region,” said the operation’s coordinator, Innocentia Apovo.

The 40 arrested face prosecution for offences including human trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation.

“They are accused of forcing victims to engage in activities ranging from begging to prostitution, with little or no regard for working conditions or human life,” Apovo said.



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  • Otile

    Today Rwanda offered to give refuge to around 30,000 African migrants stuck in Libya often in enslaved conditions according to BBC. “Given our own history… we cannot remain silent when human beings are
    being mistreated and auctioned off like cattle,” Rwandan foreign ministry
    One is compelled to ask – where is Nigeria’s leadership in Africa? Is Buhari too daft or too bigoted that he cannot see the plight of Africans languishing in Arab slavery?

    • aisha ani

      Nigeria has an agency called “The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs” , a very good friend of mine is the South West zonal director so I know a lot about this. The number of deportees so far is over 3800 and they just received another 242 at 6.45 pm Nigerian time today. I understand that these people pay a lot of money to be transported out of their country to Europe via Libya, this does not make sense at all. Please google the agency or look them up on Facebook, there are so many pictures….I am going to reserve my comments for now.

      • Otile

        This is human tragedy. War, and bad leadership is the main cause of emigration from mismanaged countries to safer havens. With Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon tilting to the brink of catastrophe more Africans are going to suffer hardship, enslavement and torture at the hands of their host nations. Both national and international refugee agencies can do so much, but they cannot prevent bad leaders from squandering their countries resources and borrowing with interest to buy arms to deal with their perceived internal enemies. Bad leadership is the root cause of this disgrace bedeviling Africa.

        Aisha you have a good Thanksgiving, and enjoy you turkey.

        • princegab

          The cool truth, thanks.
          Question of taken care of ourselves.

        • aisha ani

          Happy Thanksgiving to you also.

      • Solomon Brown

        Aisha Ani, West Africans are being auctioned off as slaves in Libya for as little as 400 USD. This is bigger than just deportees, but of course mainstream media will not report such stories.

        • aisha ani

          How did they get to Libya?