The first ladies of Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso on Thursday sealed an agreement to fight the growing child trafficking trade between the two west African nations, AFP reports.
Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa producer, is a large centre for regional child trafficking, with children from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and Mali ending up working on its plantations.
Burkinabe first lady Chantal Compaore said the number of children who had fallen prey to this trafficking had tripled in the past three years from 588 in 2010 to 1895 in 2012, without giving more details.
Her Ivorian counterpart Dominique Ouattara cited a 2011 study saying that 39 percent of Ivorian children between the ages of five and 14 worked in their country, which often comes under fire from NGOs for child labour.
The two countries signed an accord to "elaborate and put in place plans of action, programmes and regional projects to fight against child trafficking."
"Despite prevention measures, hundreds of children are still being trafficked between our two countries. Burkina Faso child services are constantly called upon for the repatriation of victims of this trafficking," said Compaore.