Over 200 children have been rescued from slavery in West African markets by officials of Interpol.
According to Interpol, 216 of these children were trafficked and forced into labour and prostitution in Benin and Nigeria.
Many of those rescued worked in markets selling goods and working as head porters, carrying heavy loads.
A significant number of them were also forced to work as housemaids and prostitutes, according to an Interpol statement on Wednesday.
The global police organisation said over hundred of the children were female minors with a few male minors.
Their masters subjected most of them to beatings and abuse, including death threats and warnings of not seeing their parents again.
Interpol said the children are now with national agencies and charities for onward re-union with their parents.
Paul Stanfield, Interpol’s director of organised and emerging crime told Thomson Reuters Foundation that efforts are ongoing to dismantle the trafficking network.
The network is reportedly active in Benin and Nigeria, countries that serve as source, transit and destination areas.
Standfield said “This is about organised crime groups who are motivated by money. It is challenging (to stop them) in the region because of lack of resources.”
Most of the children rescued are between the ages of 11 and 16. They came from Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.