Five girls rescued from the hands of child traffickers in PuntlandPhoto | Children freed from traffickers/photo/Ahmed Somali/Ergo
The Puntland police rescued five children believed to have been victims of a child trafficking ring and arrested two men suspected of being traffickers, at Qardho police check point last week.
Hussein Hassan, an officer with International Organization for Migration (IOM) Somalia office told Radio Ergo that the five girls aged between five and 14 were all girls were being smuggled at the time the police swooped.
The children and the suspects were handed over to Puntland administration’s criminal investigation agency. The police later told the media that the children were victims of child trafficking, and had been lured away from their families with the bait of well paid jobs in the city of Bossaso.
The police said they were detaining the two men for further investigations with a view to bringing charges against them.
The girls were placed in the temporary care of Puntland’s Ministry of Women and Family Affairs with the support of IOM.
Abdilkadir Yusuf Dahir, Director General of the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, told Radio Ergo that all five girls were in good health.
"We are looking for the parents or guardians of these children and until then, we [the Ministry] will be caring for them," he said.
Mr Hassan said IOM would support the efforts to reunify the girls with their families. He said they had been victims of “ruthless child trafficking” which is occurring across Somalia and separating many children from their families. He said IOM would fully support the Puntland authorities in their bid to stamp out this criminal activity.
Abdirahman Haaji/ MG/FM
Warbixinno la xiriira
No shelter or treatment for sick children fleeing rural areas in southern Somalia's Jubaland