(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

More than 40,000 children trafficked each year

Ruth, 13, doing her homework. From the age of five to nine she was denied the right to go to school and had to work selling water at a market in Gabon, after having been trafficked from Nigeria (Abuja, Nigeria, November 2007)
Lea-Lisa Westerhoff/IRIN

A new study released jointly by the Ministry of Family and Children and the UN in Benin shows that more than 40,000 children aged between 6 and 17 were trafficked in 2006.

Among those children, 93 percent were from Benin while 7 percent were foreign, the study said. Ninety-two percent of the children were trafficked within Benin while the rest were moved to other countries in the sub-region as well as Europe and elsewhere.

“We knew that trafficking is a reality in our country but this is the first time that a serious study has allowed us to have real answers to the questions who are these children, where do they come from and where do they go,” said Olivier Houngbédji Adjaï, director of children and adolescents at the ministry.

“This study shows us that we must continue to denounce [this trade] and to give help to the victims,” said Norbert Fanou-Ako, Director of the NGO Children’s Solidarity in Africa in Benin.

Fanou-Ako said parents need to by made aware of what is happening to their children and to stop them selling them or sending them to distant relatives who might not treat them correctly.

“In a country where child grow up without a childhood, it is important to focus on this,” he said.

gc/nr/dh

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