A couple suspected of engaging in human trafficking activities has been arrested at Gatuna border post as they attempted to take two girls to Uganda.
Christian Mandevu and his wife Elizabeth Birori were arrested on September 26 at the border post at around midnight with the victims aged 16 and 20 years.
The District Police Commander (DPC) of Gicumbi, Supt. Steven Gaga, the interception and the subsequent arrest of the couple was informed by the fact that the victims and the suspects lacked connection in their response when asked where they were going.
“We have since established that the victims are not related as the suspects originally claimed; they don’t know each other and hail from from places,” the DPC said.
One of the victims hails from Nyaruguru District while the other one comes from Gisozi Sector in Gasabo District. Their alleged traffickers come from Nyanza District.
“Mandevu and his wife claim they were taking the girls to someone in Kampala who was to employ them…however, the girls didn’t know the kind of a job they are supposed to do,” said SP Gaga who called on the public to be on alert and report such kind of “human rights violations.”
Their parents were not aware of their plans and whereabouts, the victims said.
The DPC said police is still investigating the case adding that they are also conducting awareness campaigns against such practices.
“We appeal to the people especially the youth not to be moved by hearsay material things. The end destination is life-threatening and the consequences are severe,” he said urging them to always report to police every time they are approached by such people.
Article 250 of the Rwandan penal code 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, position of authority over the person, 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 because he/she is vulnerable due to troubles with the authorities, being a single pregnant woman, ill, disabled or due to other situation which impairs a normal person to act.
Under article 251, any person who participates in any way, personally or through an intermediary, in trafficking a person out of Rwanda to a foreign country, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of Rwf500, 000 to Rwf2 million.
The penalties under this article, however, are doubled if the victim is a child.