Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said that some parents and guardians tend to engage minors in hard labor or commercial activities when in holidays, which amounts to “child labor and punishable by law.”
“We must protect children, as a community, from abusing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, or drinking alcoholic beverages. We should not turn them into all-time babysitters or subject them to hard domestic chores; in stone quarries and mines as well as tea plantations; protect them from markets where they are sent for commercial activities,” CP Kabera said.
On Sunday, Police and local leaders in Gakenke District found 35 minors aged between 9 and 15 years, going to Vunga market carrying heavy luggage and produce including sugarcane and banana. Most of them were in company of their parents.
“Children can always help their parents but not in a way that breaks the law and deprives the children of their rights. We urge parents and Rwandans in general to ensure that these children enjoy their holidays in a peaceful and secure manner, protect them from anything unlawful and harmful to their lives and their future,” said CP Kabera.
“We need to protect children from criminal exploitation, human trafficking and modern slavery; share information if you suspect that your neighbor employs children as domestic workers, those who subject them to corporal punishment in form of disciplining or use them in hazardous activities.”
He further reminded organizers of entertainment events, owners and managers of entertainment spots not to allow children less than 18 years of age into their premises, and not to serve them alcoholic beverages.
The law relating to the protection of the child, in its article 27, states that a person, who sells alcoholic beverages or tobacco to a child, causes or encourages a child to drink alcoholic beverages, to smoke or to go to bars commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than three months but not exceeding six months and a fine between Rwf100, 000 and Rwf200, 000.