ADDIS ABABA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Ethiopia's northern Amhara region on Tuesday disclosed they have intercepted 72 Ethiopians in a suspected case of human trafficking.
In a press statement, Bati district communication office of Amhara region said the 44 males and 28 females were recently being transported secretly on a freight truck, and they were intercepted at a local security checkpoint.
The statement said the individuals who were believed to have neighboring Djibouti as their final destination plan were intercepted during a security operation carried out jointly by local police and the Ethiopian army.
"The individuals were given orientation training on the dangers of human trafficking and thereafter repatriated to their home areas respectively," the statement from Bati district communication office further said.
Although there are no exact estimates on the number of Ethiopians trafficked annually to foreign countries, it's estimated thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked to foreign countries annually.
The human trafficking goes through three different routes, with the northern one going through Sudan, Libya and Mediterranean Sea to reach the European mainland.
The second route goes east through Somalia, Djibouti and the Red Sea to reach Saudi Arabia.
The third one goes south through Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique to reach South Africa.
Ethiopia has in recent years toughened its child welfare laws and anti-trafficking legislation to protect thousands of minors and youths that are estimated to be trafficked to various foreign destinations annually. ■