ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government is working to free 118 Ethiopians that are imprisoned in the Southern Africa nation of Zambia for illegal entry, an Ethiopian official said on Saturday.
Speaking to journalists, Meles Alem, Spokesperson for Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said his ministry is working with the Ethiopian embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, to free the imprisoned Ethiopians.
Ethiopia doesn't have an embassy in Zambia, and instead uses its diplomatic mission in Zimbabwe to coordinate diplomatic activities with Zambia, as well as Angola and Mauritius.
Alem added that his ministry has already been able to repatriate in recent months 147 Ethiopians that were languishing in Zambian prisons.
Human traffickers use countries like Zambia as a transit point to smuggle Ethiopians to Africa's largest economy South Africa, which is home to tens of thousands of both legal and undocumented Ethiopians.
Despite a growing economy and public awareness campaigns on the dangers of human trafficking by the Ethiopian government, it is estimated thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked to South Africa annually where they are mainly engaged in the informal economy.