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Rwanda National Police intensify awareness campaign against human trafficking

In a bid to prevent Rwandan from falling victims of human trafficking, Rwanda National Police (RNP) has strengthened its awareness campaigns in the remotest areas where police officers and residents discuss the harsh realities of the modern day slavery in an effort to jointly combat the vice.

In an interview, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hubert Rutaro from the Criminal Investigation Department, police embarked on taking the campaigns to remote areas particularly those near the borderlines to ensure people understand the scourge and take part in fighting it.

This Thursday, CIP Rutaro, who is heading the team of Police officers , said they will accompany the Mobile Police Station to Nyakarambi Sector of Kirehe District where residents will be sensitized and have opportunity to lodge complaints if any.

“Besides equipping people with knowledge, this will as well amplify public partnership with the police in crime prevention…. Nyakarambi lies in the route that has been identified to be used by traffickers.,” said CIP Rutaro

“Anyone person, who plays part in a crime of human trafficking, either by finding victims, processing a visa, picking them at the airport, employing them or reselling them, commits a serious crime that is punishable by laws,” he added.

It is said that some traffickers pretend to be looking for either maids or people to work in their companies, hotels or other businesses and in some cases they consult other people, who help them without knowing.

“We want all people to be mindful of what they do, hear or requested to do. If, for example, you agree to help another obtain a visa, get an employee as they claim, you should be beyond doubt that what you are doing is lawful,” said Rutaro.

Normally, local traffickers seal deals with regional and foreign clients, promising their prey better opportunities.

Youngsters, especially girls are the most vulnerable and targeted, according to police, with most of them subjected to forced hard labour sometimes with no pay while others are sexually abused.

“This is why, everybody need to widen their understanding of how human trafficking is conducted and the consequences involved as means to prevent anyone from falling prey and this is why we conduct frequent awareness campaigns,” CIP Rutaro said.

He noted that some people fall victims because they are neither unaware that they are being trafficked nor know the exploitative work and harassment that awaits them either on the way or on their final destination.

“Normally, traffickers pose as well-wishers who have a lot to offer; at times they take advantage of one’s vulnerability and play around one’s desires to make them believe that they have a lot to offer them,” CIP Rutaro said.

Human trafficking, he said, can manifest in different forms depending on the tricks the traffickers apply including deceit, the most applied method.

At least 30 Rwandan victims of human trafficking were saved, either located in countries where they were trafficked and rescued or intercepted before crossing our borders, since last year. Twenty-three of the victims were girls.

Figures indicated that 153 Rwandans were rescued between 2009 and the beginning of 2015 with about 90 percent of them being girls below 35 years of age.

The rescue, according to police, has been possible due to the current cross border cooperation between Rwanda National Police and other regional and international law enforcement institutions and agencies.


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