Tanzania to release 1,443 Ethiopian prisoners: embassy

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ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — Tanzania is to release 1,443 Ethiopian prisoners, the Ethiopian embassy in Dar Es Salaam announced on Tuesday.

In a press statement, the embassy said the decision to free 1,443 Ethiopian prisoners were made after a trilateral discussion involving Ethiopian embassy officials, European Union (EU) Officials and Tanzanian government officials.

“The 1,443 Ethiopian prisoners will be freed soon and will be assisted to return back home in collaboration with the UN migrant agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the EU,” the statement said.

The press statement didn’t mention what crimes the Ethiopians had been imprisoned for.

However, every year hundreds of Ethiopians are detained in Tanzania while trying to use Tanzania as a transit point for their final destination, South Africa.

Human traffickers reportedly use various countries as transit points to smuggle Ethiopians to South Africa.

According to the Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, human traffickers charge an average of 3,500 to 4,000 U.S. dollars to smuggle a single individual from Ethiopia to South Africa.

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 where they are mainly engaged in the informal economy.

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