Turkish authorities on Monday arrested 8 more suspected child trafficking ring members as part of a nationwide crackdown, the country’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Authorities detained the suspected ringleader, who was said to be an assistant of the head of the local branch of a powerful Kurdish political party, after they searched his home and found children’s toys and other child-related objects.
The case has sparked outrage across Turkey, with some politicians saying the suspects should not be in prison at all.
The investigation was launched after the Turkish Association of Investigative Journalists reported in March that hundreds of children were trafficked from the Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq to Turkey.
The suspected ringleaders are alleged to have taken the children to a rural village in the north of the country where they were sold to a Turkish businessman for 1,000 Turkish liras ($1,600).
The investigation has been going on since late 2016.