Voice of America reports that the authorities in Côte d’Ivoire recently rescued 137 children who were the victims of traffickers and groomed to work on cocoa plantations or in prostitution.
The report said police rescued the children after surrounding the eastern town of Aboisso and carried out a two-day search of cars, farms, and nearby villages.
Officials say the children ranged from age six to 17 and were brought into Côte d’Ivoire from Benin, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo.
The victims are now in the care of a charity in Aboisso while authorities search for their parents.
Senior police officials say they plan to increase operations aimed at stopping child trafficking.
Côte d’Ivoire depends on the production of agricultural commodities such as cocoa and poor farmers often use child labour, although instances of forced child labour and of trafficking are relatively low.