ADDIS ABABA, March 23 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed Friday that some 62 Ethiopians were freed from imprisonment in neighboring Kenya.
Spokesperson of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Meles Alem, said that the reported 62 Ethiopians, who were jailed in Kenya’s Kikuyu Police station, were freed following negotiations between the Kenyan police and the Ethiopian embassy in Kenya.
The ministry, however, did not disclose the reasons for the arrest of Ethiopians in Kenya as well as whether the released individuals would be repatriated home soon.
Some Ethiopians have used Kenya, lying on the southern border of Ethiopia, as an immediate transit route to their ultimate destination in South Africa in search of better job opportunities.
Ethiopia’s foreign ministry recently announced that some 54 individuals had been repatriated from Mozambique following discussions between the Ethiopian embassy in South Africa and the government of Mozambique.
The ministry had also previously repatriated close to 150 Ethiopians in another southern African country Zambia.
Despite a growing economy and public awareness campaigns on the dangers of human trafficking by the Ethiopian government, it is estimated that thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked to South Africa annually where they are mainly engaged in the informal economy.
Human traffickers reportedly use various countries as transit points to smuggle Ethiopians to South Africa, which is home to tens of thousands of both legal and undocumented Ethiopians.
According to the Ethiopian foreign ministry, human traffickers charge an average of 3,500 to 4,000 U.S. dollars to smuggle a single individual from Ethiopia to South Africa.
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