The Rwandan police has said that while trafficking of Rwandan women to Asia has increased recently, stressing that prevention of human trafficking calls for bringing on board both national and international approaches, according a press statement received Thursday in Kigali.
“Until 2008, the threat of human trafficking in Rwanda had not been realized. The gravity of the scourge and its dehumanizing effects cannot be underestimated,” the head of Interpol at Rwandan police, Assistant Commissioner Tony Kuramba said.
Since 2009, RNP has handled over 36 cases involving 153 victims, including 51 Bangladeshis intercepted in Kigali while on transit to Mozambique; 90 percent of the victims are also females with 82 percent of them aged between 18 and 35, according to Police reports.
The police said that in the past year alone, the country has recorded at least 19 cases of human trafficking involving 25 victims including foreigners intercepted in Rwanda en route to either Europe or Asia. 23 of the victims were females. But about 26 suspected traffickers were also apprehended in partnership with other regional police forces
“Prevention of human trafficking calls for bringing on board both national and international approaches. Nationally, Rwanda National Police in collaboration with stakeholders embarked on community outreach sensitization to make sure public is aware of what awaits those who succumb to the tricks of human traffickers,” the Rwandan senior police officer said
Predominantly, young women have been trafficked either by individuals or employment agencies, typically lured by promises of lucrative business, job, or study opportunities abroad.
It explained that many victims willingly accept these services without realizing the exploitative nature of the conditions that they will be subjected to. “Once trapped; they have their passports taken from them and are often forced into prostitution or bonded labour to earn profits for their traffickers.”
The release related the story of a 16-year-old Ugandan woman who was lured by traffickers who promised her a good job in China and a good payment but ended in an exploitive situation.
“Someone promised me a job in a restaurant in China. I was taken to Bangkok for two days and then on to China. The place I was taken to in Bangkok was very terrible; it was like a mad house. There were about 20 young girls, very young girls of 20, 19, and 17 years old. They were taking weed, cocaine, smoking pipe in the corridors. I managed to keep my cool because I thought if I would react badly I would be put in trouble or beaten or even killed,” said the young victim who recently returned home with Interpol’s assistance.
In June 2011, Uwineza boarded a China-bound plane from Entebbe Airport in Uganda to take on the so called lucrative job, as her so called friend, who was there before, had assured her.
Although she received friendly reception, from Judith and her colleagues including other Rwandan and Ugandan girls, things changed two hours later.
“She took me to a hotel where she told me she had paid for my stay for two days. This sounded weird. When I asked the kind of job she had for me, she told me to get ready in two hours to start it.”
Since 2013, the Rwandan government enacted the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act. However, the growing number of trafficked persons over the last two years calls for coordinated efforts in properly understanding the problem, while investigating and prosecuting human traffickers, it said.
But still the current penal code in this tiny East African nation stipulates that anyone arrested dealing with human trafficking is punished by imprisonment of 15 years and paying up to Rwf20 million which the Rwandan government believes that it’s still not enough.
It is also believed that Rwandan young girls are illegally trafficked to various countries including Uganda, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and china, USA, European countries. Enditem