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A child trafficking network in Guinea-Bissau dismantled

By Scott Tuttle     Nov 18, 2013 in World
On Friday, November 15, a caravan of child traffickers en route to Gambia was intercepted by police in the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau.
Sixty-one children between the ages of 4 and 10 were discovered stowed away in two trucks passing through Buba, Guinea-Bissau according to Radio France Internationale's Guinea-Bissau correspondent. Sources say that three alleged child traffickers were apprehended and taken into custody, but others are believed to also have been involved in the operation.
According to police, the children were all taken from a village in the southern region of the country known as Tombali. Several of them were ill or fatigued due to the harsh conditions of their journey.
According to police inspector general, Francisco N'dur Djata, the perpetrators managed to abduct the children by convincing their parents that they were taking them to Gambia to attend Koranic school. This is a common scam among child traffickers as religious education away from home is deemed highly important and a great honor by Muslim parents in that culture. Due to high poverty rates in Guinea-Bissau and the ban on begging in Gambia, where many of the best Koranic schools are located, the prospect of a charitable organization providing this highly-coveted education for one's children is very tempting and unsuspecting parents often fall for it. Duped by the scam, the parents complied and allowed their children to be taken by the imposters.
The children recovered from the incident were placed in protective custody at a UNICEF-sponsored center in Buba, which is the regional capital and largest city in Guinea-Bissau.
According to Aboubacar Sultan, Guinea-Bissau's UNICEF representative, there is still "more to be done in terms of prevention. ...this will be our agenda for days to come."
More about Africa, Human trafficking, Kidnapping, Children, Guineabissau
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