OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – Police cooperation via INTERPOL has enabled Togo police to release a teenage girl from sexual exploitation and reunite her with her family in Burkina Faso.
The 17-year old schoolgirl went missing from her Ouagadougou home in January. She was identified as a potential trafficking victim during last month’s Operation Weka II, an INTERPOL-led crackdown on the criminal groups behind human trafficking and migrant smuggling across 44 countries worldwide.
Just a phone call away from freedom
Secretly using one of the kidnapper’s mobile phones, the girl had called her parents who notified Burkina Faso authorities that their missing daughter had been kidnapped, and that she had called from a number in Togo.
Alerted by the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Ouagadougou, and using sophisticated telephone tracing techniques learned during Operation Weka preoperational training, NCB Lomé traced the phone number to where the girl was held captive in Togo.
“Thanks to INTERPOL's police capabilities and co-operation, the young girl has been reunited with her family in Burkina Faso,” added the Head of NCB Lomé.
A suspect thought to be involved with the kidnapping has been arrested in Togo for sexual exploitation of a minor.
“This case is a great success for NCB Ouagadougou and our INTERPOL General Secretariat colleagues at the Vulnerable Communities - Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants Unit. Their West Africa team delivered the expert training which is what made the case in the end, and I congratulate Togo police authorities for their outstanding investigative work,” said Head of NCB Burkina Faso Commissaire Principal Daoud Traore.
“A combination of international police co-operation and training on innovative new investigative skills had an immediate impact on front line action and ultimately saved the life of an underage victim even though their only clue was a telephone number,” added the Ouagadougou NCB Head.
NCB Lomé staff accompanied the girl to her Togo-Burkina Faso flight on Friday 8 July. She was met by NCB Ouagadougou staff upon her arrival in her home country the same day.