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21 children in truck rescued from smugglers in Zambia

21 CHILDREN IN TRUCK RESCUED FROM SMUGGLERS IN ZAMBIA

Zambian police have rescued 21 children from a sealed truck and arrested three foreign nationals suspected of human smuggling, a police official said Saturday.

The nationals were intercepted trying to cross over into Malawi with the children, with ages ranging from 2 to 14, and who are believed to have been smuggled from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eastern Province Police Commissioner Alex Chilufya told reporters.

Two of the three suspects are thought to come from Malawi, while the other is a DRC national, he added.

The children were found in a sealed truck bearing a foreign registration number whose ownership is so far unknown, he said.

"After eluding the police from the Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces, the suspects were intercepted by alert police officers in eastern Zambia when they tried to sneak into Malawi using fake documents."

The three suspects are in police custody waiting to appear in court on Monday while the 21 children have been placed in protective custody, to be repatriated to the DRC when the situation there normalizes, he added.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Zambia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation.

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