Police in northern Ethiopia’s Amhara regional state intercepted 62 children in a suspected case of human trafficking, an Ethiopian official said on Sunday.
Yimer Abate, Chief Officer of the Crime Prevention Division, Qallu locality, South Wollo zone in Amhara regional state, said the 62 children were intercepted on Friday evening while they were allegedly being trafficked using several autorickshaws, reported state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency (ENA).
Abate said the 62 children who range between 12-year-old to late teens included 38 females were hidden in houses in a forested, isolated area of Qallu locality.
Police suspect the 62 children were on the way to being trafficked to neighboring Djibouti on transit to their final destinations across the Red Sea in the Arabian Peninsula.
In September 2019, police in Qallu locality intercepted more than 1, 000 individuals in one of the largest anti-human trafficking operations in Ethiopia in recent years.
Every year thousands of Ethiopians looking for better economic opportunities are estimated to be trafficked through Djibouti and the Red Sea to reach the Arabian Peninsula.
In recent years, the Ethiopian government has taken out advertisements in local print and broadcast media outlets and warned its nationals on the dangers of illegal migration.