Over 300 Rwandans trafficked in five years: RIB discloses new tricks of human traffickers

By Esther Muhozi
On 15 March 2024 at 01:44

The spokesperson of Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Dr. Murangira B. Thierry has revealed that human traffickers are devising new strategies in response to enhanced countermeasures. These tricks include leveraging the victim’s close friends to build trust and mask the impending dangers.

Considering these new tactics, Dr. Murangira warned Rwandans to be cautious.

He revealed, "They use many tricks. The first trick they use is to promise something extraordinary to the person they want to take. These people use names that are not theirs. There are those taken by their friends. [...] So trusting your friend not to harm you is a trap that some fall into."

He further elaborated on the false narratives created by traffickers, "There are also those trafficked by their friends, convincing them how well they know them. [...] saying ‘I am in Dubai’, and they show you pictures saying that you too can find a good job there, showing you pictures of themselves in nice houses and cars, making you think that is the life they live."

RIB reports indicate that a significant number of Rwandans trafficked abroad are deceived via social media, with the majority being young people who are less likely to critically analyze the risks.

Victims are promised lucrative jobs or scholarships, and women are often enticed with promises of marriage to foreigners. Upon arrival, they face dire situations including forced organ harvesting, sexual exploitation, forced labor, and begging.

Dr. Murangira stressed, "We cannot say it is only uneducated people; even well-educated people are trafficked. People in established households are lured away from their homes with promises of good jobs that can support their families."

He also highlighted the tactics used to isolate victims, "Then there is another thing they tell them: ’Make sure you do not consult anyone. If you consult, you’ll see that things will not work out for you.’ What they want is for you not to consult anyone so that someone does not tell you, ’But have you thought about it? Are you not being trafficked?’"

Dr. Murangira further discussed how traffickers erode trust between victims and state authorities, "Another thing I want to tell people, these people who go to traffic them promising them jobs, they instill distrust between the person being trafficked and the state or security agencies. The distrust I’m talking about is when they tell you, ’Make sure you don’t talk to those people lest they deny you opportunities tomorrow.’’

RIB’s advice is to be wary of too-good-to-be-true opportunities, especially when documentation is rushed or advice is discouraged.

In the last five years, RIB reported that 314 Rwandans were trafficked abroad, with 82 being rescued.

Women make up 77% of the victims, predominantly young people between 18 to 30 years old.

Most trafficking victims are sent to Arab countries, which is also where many repatriated Rwandans are rescued from.

The spokesperson of Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Dr. Murangira B. Thierry.