Police Rescues 12 Burundians from Human Trafficking

Rescued from trafficking were on empty promise of a good job

Rwanda National Police has today paraded to the public 12 Burundian nationals – predominantly women that have been rescued from human traffickers.

The Eleven Burundian women and one man were stopped at Akanyaru border post on January 10 while attempting to cross to Uganda through Rwanda and their final destination was United Emirates Arab, Qatar and Oman.

They were arrested alongside their three traffickers including a woman and a man holding Kenyan passports and another man with Burundian passport.

Most of the victims said that they had never met their alleged recruiters as it was either carried on phone after they were connected by another person, whom they had also met for the very first time in Bujumbura.
 
Deputy RNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Lynder Nkuranga said that the victims rose suspicion at the border as they were “not sure” of where they were headed.
 
“This prompted security personnel at the border to intervene, tracked and arrested three members of the trafficking ring. One of the suspects was escorting the victims from Bujumbura while the two other Kenyans were waiting for them on the Rwanda side,” Chief Supt. Nkuranga said.

“They were telling us that Arab countries are seeking manpower and that we would make very good money once there,” said one of the victims at Rwanda Criminal Investigation Department (CID) today.

Human traffickers, said Nkuranga, have been trying to use Rwanda as a transit but will never be tolerated.

 “Human trafficking, be it one case or many victims is “intolerable and redline” in Rwanda; the consequences to traffickers are the same to both Rwandans and foreign nationals, who tries to recruit Rwandans or uses Rwanda as a destination or transit route,” she warned.

“Whoever is attached to human trafficking syndicate should break the chain before things get worse for them.”

According to statistics by Police, about 153 Rwandans were trafficked from 2009 to February 2015. And only 74 cases were reported by March 2016.

Human traffickers wanted to use Rwanda as transit

The most recent case was in September 2016 when police rescued 28 people that had been duped into believing they would get a better life in Australia – however, they got stuck midway in Burundi where they had been taken apparently to process travel documents.

Investigations revealed that victims are mostly taken to Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates and Zambia.

Rwanda government has consistently condemned human trafficking and vowed to fight the vice.

“We cannot accept Rwandan people to be traded like commodities,” President Paul Kagame said while addressing the 12th National Dialogue, Umushyikirano in December 2014.

Since then, several interventions have been made to fight human trafficking in the country.

One of the mechanisms proposed includes severe punishment for culprits involved in trading human beings.

Meanwhile, rescued Burundians will be deported to their home country while traffickers will be prosecuted.

According to Police, at least 30 Rwandan victims of human trafficking were rescued in 2015, either located in countries where they were trafficked or intercepted before crossing the Rwandan borders, over the last two years. Twenty-three of the victims were girls.

Human trafficking, under the Rwandan law, is punishable with an imprisonment of between seven and ten years and a fine of up to Rwf10 million as stipulated under articles 251 to 253 of the penal code.

 




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