U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Rwanda
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Rwanda, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3d422a.html [accessed 26 May 2016]|
Rwanda (Tier 2)
Rwanda is a source country for children trafficked within the country for the purposes of domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Small numbers of impoverished Rwandan girls, typically heads of households between the ages of 14 and 18, engage in prostitution as a means of survival; some are exploited by loosely organized networks of older girls and women. In 2006 and early 2007, troops loyal to a renegade Congolese general reportedly recruited an unknown number of children for forced labor and soldiering from refugee camps in Rwanda.
The Government of Rwanda does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Bureaucratic inefficiencies and severe resource constraints contributed to the government's lack of comprehensive data on victims and law enforcement action. To enhance its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should consider enacting and enforcing its draft anti-trafficking law, as well as taking additional steps to remove children from prostitution and domestic servitude and to provide for their care.
The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were modest during the reporting period. Rwandan law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing statutes prohibit slavery, kidnapping, forced prostitution, and child prostitution, under which traffickers could be prosecuted. In March 2007, a draft law on suppressing, prosecuting, and punishing trafficking in persons was introduced in the Parliament's Chamber of Deputies. The status of a draft law intended to protect street children by criminalizing the actions of hotels and cinema halls that provide venues for child prostitution is unknown. The government did not investigate or prosecute any trafficking cases during the year. Police did, however, take measures to curb prostitution by detaining women and children in prostitution, issuing orders to contain them at home, and placing them on probation to monitor closely their activities. At numerous security checkpoints throughout the country, the National Police inspected vehicles' cargo and documentation, questioning men traveling with children but without an adult female. Trained police officers investigated suspected irregularities, including any possible indications of trafficking; such inspections yielded no reported cases of trafficking.
With the exception of its care for former child combatants, limited information is available on the government's efforts to provide protective services to trafficking victims. The Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) continued to broadcast a weekly radio program in both Rwanda and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (D. R. C. ), reiterating the government's policy of accepting all returnees who disarm and renounce violence, and granting immunity from prosecution for war crimes to anyone who was under 14 years of age during the 1994 genocide. As a result, some Rwandan child combatants voluntarily fled the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, an armed rebel group operating in eastern D. R. C. and returned to Rwanda. The RDRC continued operation of a center for child ex-combatants, which provided three months of care and education to returning children; 42 children arrived at the center during the reporting period. The RDRC worked with local authorities and an NGO to locate the children's families, and social workers sensitized the families before their child's return; in 2006, 32 children were reunited with their families.
The Ministry of Education operated "catch-up" education centers that provided education for over 900 children who had missed all or part of their primary education due to working. The government did not encourage victims of trafficking to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking, nor did it ensure that child victims of commercial sexual exploitation were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
While the national government's efforts to prevent children from being trafficked were modest in 2006, sector governments implemented localized programs to prevent women and children from being exploited in prostitution. For example, officials from Kanombe Sector, located near Kigali's airport, reached out to those in commercial sexual exploitation by establishing and operating information centers, initiating income generation programs, and helping them to form small community organizations that can interact with the sector government; other sectors are attempting similar approaches. The Ministry of Labor, with input from UNICEF and the Ministries of Gender and Education, drafted a National Plan of Action on Child Labor in 2005 that is still awaiting approval by the Cabinet; the plan identifies children in prostitution and child domestic workers as two forms of child labor to be addressed. The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission began conducting a survey on the impact of genocide on gender-based violence, including prostitution. In partnership with UNICEF, the Ministry of Gender and Family Support – the government's agency for assisting children in distress – launched a radio-based public information campaign on caring for vulnerable children.