Interpol yesterday, rescued 64 sex trafficking and human trafficking victims comprising of Nigerians and citizens of three other African countries – Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali. The rescue operation was coordinated by the International Police operatives in Mali and the raids carried out at known trafficking and smuggling hotspots in the country.
“The victims – mostly women and girls – were rescued from sexual exploitation forced labour in the mining sector, as well as forced begging. Tagged ‘Operation Horonya’ (‘freedom’ in Bambara language), the activities took place from October 3 to 11 “to support the Malian authorities to identify and dismantle the criminal groups operating in the country and more widely across the region,” Interpol noted.
“The nearly 70 victims identified and rescued came from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali; and were working in bars, homes and mining sites. Among them were three young boys rescued from an illegally operated Koranic school, where they were allegedly forced to beg for money,” it added.
Some of the arrested suspects have been detained and awaiting sentencing as it was further learnt that investigation is currently being carried out to identify additional suspects. Most of the rescued victims were females.