At least 40 people have been arrested during a swoop on human trafficking across West Africa, after a video surfaced showing refugees apparently being sold at auction in Libya.
In a statement on Thursday, Interpol said those arrested face prosecution for offences including human trafficking, forced labor and child exploitation.
“They are accused of forcing victims to engage in activities ranging from begging to prostitution, with little to no regard for working conditions or human life,” the statement read.
“The results of this operation underline the challenge faced by law enforcement and all stakeholders in addressing human trafficking in the Sahel region,” the operation’s coordinator Innocentia Apovo said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has recently said that the reported auctions of African refugees in Libya as slaves amounts to “crimes against humanity.”
The Interpol-led action was sparked by footage of Africans being use as slaves in Libya. CNN aired last week footage of a live auction in Libya where black men were being sold for as little as $400 to North African buyers as farmhands.