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Johannesburg – Over 200 people, including children, forced into prostitution and heavy labour in Nigeria and Benin, have been rescued by the international police organisation Interpol.

In April, approximately 100 police officers carried out Operation Epervier II against human trafficking across Nigeria and Benin, the Premium Times reported.

During the raids, which targeted markets, airports, seaports and settlements, police seized vehicles, cash, cellphones and computers.

”Many of the children were working in markets peddling goods, carrying heavy loads or fetching water, while others worked as housemaids or were forced into prostitution” the police divisional commissioner of Benin’s Central Bureau for the Protection of Minors and Families and the Prevention of Human Trafficking (OCPM) said.

“Nobody belongs in the markets or on the streets as slave labourers. As law enforcement officers, it is our duty to combat human trafficking, especially when children are involved.”

Interpol Secretary-General, Jürgen Stock, said: “Human trafficking is a transnational crime from which the vulnerable, especially children, simply cannot walk away.”

According to Aido Asogwa, the Comptroller of Nigeria’s Immigration Service in the Seme border region, the victims all came from Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo.

Some of the children had been subjected to beatings and psychological abuse.

African News Agency/ANA