With human trafficking said to be one of the fastest growing areas of crime world over, and threatening especially the young generation, Rwanda National Police (RNP) has strengthened its awareness especially in schools as one of the preventive measure against the vice.
On September 1, the District Police Units (DPUs) of Ngororero, Karongi and Gicumbi engaged over 2000 students in productive discussions aimed at raising their understanding on the emerging global threat of human trafficking and people smuggling.
In Ngororero, the District Community Liaison Officer (DCLO), Inspector of Police (IP) Alexandre Minani engaged students of GS Rusebeya and GS St. Vincent de Paul, and explained to them the meaning of human trafficking, how it’s conducted and the corollary that victims encounter on arrival to their final destination.
He was accompanied by Isaac Maniraguha, the coordinator of the National Youth Council in Ngororero and the executive secretary of Bwira Sector, Jean d’Amour Kavange.
“Human trafficking is the modern-era of slavery; victims cease to have rights, they are tortured in varied ways…it could be physical assault, psychological torture, sexual exploitation or being forced into hard labour,” IP Minani told the students.
He also urged them to always report strangers or even people known to them, who tend to act as saviours with promises of offering them life-changing jobs either within or outside the country.
“First ask yourself the kind of person, who wish to see you abandon school or a stranger who just bumps into your life promising heaven-on-earth without asking for a return; whenever you encounter such people, tell parents, friends, local leaders and police, don’t be manipulated by the tricks traffickers employ such as not disclosing the deal to anyone,” he added.
Although human trafficking is not a major phenomenon in Rwanda, IP Minani noted that “even a single case counts, has its impact and we shouldn’t allow that to happen.”
Most of the human trafficking victims intercepted are said to be foreigners from neighbouring Uganda and Burundi, and the 53 Bangladeshi intercepted in 2009 en route to Mozambique.
Since last year, about 30 Rwandans were either located in countries where they were trafficked and rescued or intercepted before crossing borders, according to RNP statistics. Twenty-three of the victims were girls.
Twenty-five suspected traffickers were also arrested. The victims had been trafficked to Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, Uganda, Malaysia, China and Dubai [United Arab Emirates].
The students were also enlightened on their role in community policing and urged to be reliable partners in fighting other crimes like drug abuse, domestic and gender based violence.
The same messages were echoed in GS Nyarubuye in Karongi District and GS Notre Dame De bon Conseil in Gicumbi, where police, youth volunteers and local leaders sensitized the students in fighting and preventing crimes.