Rwanda holds two Kenyans over human trafficking

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Rwandan police have detained two Kenyans suspected to be involved in a human trafficking syndicate

The arrest comes after Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Immigration intercepted twelve Burundian nationals who were being trafficked to Asian countries through Rwanda.

The victims, 11 of them female, were intercepted at Kanyaru borderline on January 10.

Three suspected traffickers; a Burundian and two Kenyan nationals who include a woman, were also arrested the same day.

While briefing the media, yesterday at RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru, where the suspects were paraded, one of the victims, a 22-year old girl, said that she was approached by one of the Kenyan suspects and made her believe that she was to get her a well-paying job in Oman.

“I didn’t know that there were other people recruited but at Akanyaru, but I met other Burundians at the border, who were also headed to the same destination,” a senior-five student, said.

“Honestly speaking, I didn’t know anything about human trafficking but when they stopped us at the border, Rwandan officials told us how it is carried out and the consequences, and it is exactly how I was recruited by the person I met for the very first time and cautioned me against telling anyone or else the deal would die,” she added.

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 them on the Rwanda side,” Chief Supt. Nkuranga said.

The victims were apparently headed to different countries through Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, with some of them told that they were headed to Saudi Arabia others to Qatar.

“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.

Article 250 of the Rwandan penal code, partly, defines human trafficking as “acts by which the individual becomes a commodity consisting in recruitment, transfer of a person to another part of the country or to another country by use of deception, threat, force or coercion…in most cases for the purpose of harming his/her life or unlawfully exploiting by indecent assault, prostitution, unlawful practices, practices similar to slavery by torturing and subjecting to cruel treatment or domestic servitude…”

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.

However, when the crime of human trafficking is committed internationally, the jail term ranges between 10 and 15 years and a fine of between Rwf10 million and Rwf15 million.

In July last year, police also intercepted three Burundian women who were being trafficked to Saudi Arabia through Rwanda.

Later in September, 28 Rwandans were also rescued from Burundi as they were being trafficked to Australia.

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


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