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26.04.2006 Crime & Punishment

Suspected Beninios child trafficker arrested

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The Aflao Police, acting on a tip-off on Monday arrested a Beninios businessman, Marcel Koutangui, 42, with 13 teenage boys, whom he was allegedly trafficking to Cote d'Ivoire.

Koutangui, alias Elice, was arrested at Aflao on a Takoradi bound bus at about 1800 hours with the boys aged between 13 and 17 years.

It was alleged that he was taking the boys to la Cote d'Ivoire. Briefing the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Baba Moro, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in charge of crime at Aflao said, following an upsurge in human trafficking across the Ghana-Togo border, a Police Link was put in place to monitor the situation.

He said on Monday, the police was informed about a suspicious movement of Koutangui in the company of the 13 boys and trailed them to a Takoradi bound bus at the public transport terminal at Aflao. According to ASP Moro, Koutangui told the police that he had the consent of the boys' parents and that he was sending them to Cote d'Ivoire to be engaged as farm hands and in fishing.

He said Koutangui said there was a high demand for labour in that country, following the civil strife there, resulting in labour shortage. ASP Moro said the suspect and the boys, who were under the care of the police, would be handed over to the Ghana Immigration Service together with Koutangui after investigations for onward transfer to Benin through the Togolese authorities.