137 children promised to work in the fields or the trade, even in prostitution, were “saved” during a police operation carried out Thursday and Friday in the east of Ivory Coast, according to the National Committee for the Actions of combating trafficking, exploitation and child labor (CNS).
“We were able to rescue 137 child victims of trafficking and exploitation. The children rescued are of Nigerian, Nigerian, Beninese, Ghanaian and Togolese nationality ”, said the divisional commissioner Kouadio Yeboué Marcellin, deputy police chief of Aboisso (south-east, border of Ghana), in the text published by the CNS .
The CNS, which funded the operation, is chaired by the first lady, Dominique Ouattara. “12 traffickers” were arrested, according to the text.
“Depending on their nationality, they (the children) were destined for prostitution for Nigerians, tires (repair of tires on the roadside) and trade for Togolese, Beninese and Nigerians (…). The age of these rescued children varies between 6 and 17 years ”.
The police checked buses, targeting unaccompanied children, but they also intervened in villages: the “first day made it possible to rescue around forty children discovered in situations of exploitation and trafficking in the plantations or exercising a dangerous job for their age ”, assures the text.
Research is being carried out to find the parents of the children.
“What makes it rich (from the Ivory Coast) is its agriculture. We have to do something to make all the people who stick this messy image to the Ivory Coast lie, namely that the Ivorian cocoa feeds on the sweat of children. The place for children is at school and not on the plantations. The future of a nation belongs to youth, « added Mr. Kouadio Yeboué Marcellin.
Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa and cashews, Africa’s leading producer of rubber, is regularly under fire from critics of certain NGOs who believe that poverty pushes families to put their children to work. Côte d’Ivoire is also considered an important regional destination for the trafficking of children from border countries for work in the fields.