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Rwanda to sensitize citizens on human trafficking

Rwanda is working to raise public awareness on human trafficking that has become "a serious threat" to the African country, a minister said Monday.

Evode Uwizeyimana, Rwanda’s state minister in charge of constitutional and legal affairs, told reporters that the ministry of justice is developing manuscripts that will sensitize Rwandan citizens about the extent, dimensions, implications and dangers of human trafficking.

"Human trafficking has become a serious threat to our people. Nowadays criminals use various means to lure, deceive, force, abuse and torture their victims for the sake of labor and sexual exploitation, regardless of whether they are young or old," he said.

"Not enough people know about the dangers until they become victims. In some cases it has cost lives," the minister added.

Uwizeyimana noted that the ministry in partnership with law enforcement agencies and local leaders is going to embark on prevention strategy for creating awareness and sensitization in order to stamp out human trafficking.

Last month, Rwandan police intercepted 12 Burundian nationals on suspicion that they were being taken to Middle East countries in a human trafficking scheme.

In September last year, 28 Rwandans were also rescued from Burundi as they were allegedly being trafficked to Australia.

A 2016 United States report on trafficking in persons (TIP) said Rwanda was a source, and to a lesser degree, a transit and destination country for a limited number of women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.

But the Rwandan government dismissed the report as a gross misrepresentation of the reality.

Human trafficking, under the Rwandan law, is punishable with a jail term of between seven and ten years and a fine of up to 12,167 U.S. dollars.


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