Interpol has rescued 94 people, mostly children, from criminal trafficking networks in Sudan, the international police agency said.
85 of those rescued were children, and are believed to be from Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and Niger.
According to Interpol, the rescuees were freed in a four-day operation conducted in August.
The operation was dubbed ‘Sawiyan’, and was coordinated by Interpol’s National Central Bureau in Khartoum in collaboration with Sudanese authorities
Some of the victims are reported to be as young as 10 years old, and were also among those found working in illegally-operated gold mines located to the east of the capital under extreme conditions. The police agency said they were forced to handle dangerous chemicals.
“The diversity of nationalities amongst those rescued shows how human trafficking and people smuggling is a truly transnational problem which requires a coordinated international response in which police and stakeholders share information and best practices,” Interpol’s Executive Director of Police Services Tim Morris said.
The operation also led to the arrest of two men and 12 women suspected to have been traffickers. The Interpol officers recovered $20,000 in the operation.
The agency said many of the rescues had been held against their will and forced to work in the mining operations where they were found.
“One consistent aspect arising from our operations against human trafficking is the abuse of the inherent vulnerability of the victims, and the perilous conditions they are made to work in for profit,” Morris said in the statement.
Interpol said Sudan’s Ministry of Social Affairs will provide assistance for those rescued.