DAKAR, Sept 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Nearly 100 human trafficking victims have been rescued in a major police operation in Sudan, including dozens of children forced to work in illegal gold mines, Interpol said on Monday.
Operation Sawiyan involved 200 Sudanese police officers who rescued 94 people, including 85 minors, from criminal networks in and around the capital, Khartoum, in an Interpol-led week-long crackdown last month, the global police organisation said.
Many of the victims were from other African countries and believed to have been travelling toward Europe when they fell into the hands of traffickers, said Tim Morris, Interpol’s executive director of police services.
“We believe that they were transiting through Sudan and then kidnapped en route and diverted into these forced labour activities,” Morris told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The victims came from Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Niger, Sudan and South Sudan, he said. Police found some children as young as ten handling dangerous chemicals in open-air gold mines east of Khartoum, while others were forced to beg in the city, said Interpol.
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