The Ivory Coast Rescue

 


The Corona pandemic had been a bearer for bad times right from January 2020.This pandemic is responsible for the global economic crisis which has caused the shunting of livelihood and wages for many families.

Some are even forced to leave their current settlements and to find new shelters for them and their family. This period has also seen a surge caused in criminal activities mainly caused by kingpins exploiting people's economic helplessness.

One such incident took place last Wednesday in the southwestern part of the Ivory Coast. Also known by the name of Cote d'Ivoire, the country is located on the southern coast of West Africa.

The education scenario in the country is not very promising, with the majority of the adult population particularly women being illiterate. The major crime induced due to this shortcoming is the human trafficking racquets that exploit the poor and illiterate people around.

One such mission related to human trafficking was being reported and with the quickness of the local police authorities, the criminals were nabbed on time with a successful rescue of underaged laborers.

The suspected human trafficking gang was on the radar of the local authorities since May and June of this year but the novel corona pandemic put a halt to the operation.

It's not the first time that country has faced the reports of such an act, earlier in December 2019 an operation formed with the focus to stop such heinous acts were planned and activated which resulted in a successful rescue of more than 100 children from the country.

The country is renowned for its cocoa plantation and often faced a shortage of laborers to work on forcing the young lads to be exploited for illegal cultivation and farm work.

The following mission was a success with 11 children and 2 teenagers being freed from the clutches of the traffickers.

The country had introduced preventive measures against the novel coronavirus right from march 16,2020 with restrictions being imposed resulting in the closing of schools and other educational institutes and with the sealing of border.

Most of these measures were lifted after observing a significant drop in the number of active cases.

Three farmers which were arrested were charged with a judicial charge of forced labor, the details given by the police state that children were found shelling the cocoa pods in a field that was acquired by one of the arrested farmer with near approximately 20 adults.

The details stated by the police commissioner indicated a delay caused in such operations due to the pandemic.

The operation was launched in 2 major cocoa-producing cities with a clear intent to trace the farmers associated with human trafficking.

Child labor poses one of the major threats to the ivory coast which is termed as the world's top cocoa producer during this time of the pandemic.

The report submitted in June 2020 by the Swiss-based international cocoa initiative brings out the shocking numbers to the authorities.

Some of the charities working towards this Nobel cause have indicated this figure to be over the one million marks.

This means that there are more than 1 million illegal workers who are currently forced to work on the cocoa fields for a mere wage which not only is limited to physical exploitation but also sexual exploitation.

The locals feared the consequences that were to be faced by the local goons if they complained.

This is one of the major reasons why many crimes went unreported. The graph of child trafficking shows up a shooting increase in the past decade.

But the commissioner laka’s recent interviews which state the opening of six more operational centers with improved resources in the major cocoa-producing regions to tackle this increasing problem of child trafficking and labor.

Zaka’s direct statement can be well interpreted that traffickers are going to have a hard time, with the police's efforts and deploying ability the huge area of cocoa production is under good surveillance.

There’s also been an increase in the local recruitments with formations of quick response teams trained to tackle various situations including close combat fight and hand to hand fights, these teams are backed up by the main headquarters who keep a check on every step taken.

With this many charitable trusts are coming forward to provide education and employment to the weakened sections.

The country has also seen a surge in the foreign investments which have resulted in the complete utilization of its resources and formation of many small and large-scale industries thus providing better employment opportunities for the locals.

We wish that police and charity group's combined efforts will bore fruits and will result in the complete eradication of this social evil.


Written by - Yash Bundela

Edited by – Adrija Saha


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