Forty people were arrested and 500 people rescued after a swoop on human traffickers 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 500 people, including 236 minors had been rescued in simultaneous operations across Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger Republic 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. (Reuters/NAN)