- Title: IVORY COAST: INTERPOL TO JOIN CAMPAIGN TO HALT AFRICA'S TRAFFIC IN CHILD WORKERS
- Date: 10th January 2002
- Summary: (L!2)YAMOUSSOUKRO, IVORY COAST (RECENT - JANUARY 10, 2002) SCU: (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTAD SAYING: "We are hoping the countries in the region will cooperate, because what we see is that the information about trafficking gangs stays within areas, instead of being exchanged with other countries. So, unless people are talking to each other, unless they are sending intelligence to each other, this will not go away."
- Embargoed: 25th January 2002 12:00
- Location: YAMOUSSOUKRO, IVORY COAST
- Country: Ivory Coast
- Topics: Crime,Quirky,Politics,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVADPI2NK8BYIGBFKX5OD61D8TQI
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The international police organisation Interpol has said it is joining the campaign to halt Africa's traffic in child workers and has urged more cross-border cooperation to stop the trade.
Interpol made the statement at the end of a three-day conference with aid groups in Yamoussoukro.
Interpol agent Ian Austad said taking part in the conference marked the beginning of the international police organisation's first big effort in the fight against the traffic of minors in West and Central Africa.
Austad said trafficking in children seems to be a bigger problem than was previously thought.
"The extent of trafficking is not yet fully known. So, at the moment, the emphasis must be on finding ways to identify and describing the various form of trafficking in children in West Africa," he said.
"What we've seen as a global problem has been, of course, the sexual exploitation of children, as in working as a prostitute. In this region, children are obviously working in plantations as domestic helps and have been sold by parents or relatives and are heavily exploited," Austad added.
Austad told Reuters Interpol would encourage national police forces to share data on traffickers and victims.
"We are hoping the countries in the region will cooperate, because what we see is that the information about trafficking gangs stays within areas, instead of being exchanged with other countries. So, unless people are talking to each other, unless they are sending intelligence to each other, this will not go away."
In west Africa today, trafficking in persons is a crime that is pervasive and growing .the involvement of organised crime has driven this growth and increased the number of the sub-region's citizens who suffer its depredations. The crime preys, primarily, on the most vulnerable, that is to say women, children, the poorest and the least educated.
Two main types of trafficking exist in west Africa: trafficking in children mainly for domestic work and for farm labour across and within national borders; and, secondly, trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation.
Poverty is a major driving force in the rise of trafficking in persons and women and children are easily lured into trafficking networks by recruiters who promise lucrative jobs abroad.
Constance Chabrieres, an officer for the Child Protecting, Child Labour and Child Trafficking Programme explained that the mandate of INTERPOL is very different from the one of UNICEF.
"First, they are on the police side, the repression side.
We can work more on prevention, as well as protection, but on different aspects. So, when it comes to collaboration or cooperation, INTERPOL is a very important counterpart," she said.
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