As part of combined efforts by the German government-funded Sahel Project and Interpol, police in five African countries have arrested 40 suspected human traffickers and rescued hundreds of victims.
According to AP, vulnerable men, women and 236 minors were saved during the large-scale operation. Hungarian government insiders say it's a step in the right direction to tackle the migrant crisis at its source and prevent human traffickers from fueling migrant flows.
Innocentia Apovo, the Interpol criminal intelligence officer who coordinated the operation, told The Associated Press that when they were rescued, “some hadn’t taken a shower for two months.”
According to a statement released by Interpol, the suspected traffickers had “little to no regard for working conditions or human life.”
The police operation took place between November 6-10th and was carried out simultaneously in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
The 40 suspects will face prosecution in the countries where they were arrested, on charges including human trafficking, forced labor and child exploitation.
Reports state that aid groups and the International Organization for Migration are working to care for the victims.