Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Rwanda

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Rwanda, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Rwanda (Tier 2 Watch List)

Rwanda is a source country for children internally trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Small numbers of impoverished Rwandan children, typically between the ages of 14 and 18, are exploited by loosely organized prostitution networks. In addition, some children of Rwandan background have been trafficked over the past decade for forced labor and child soldiering within Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.). In the mid-1990s, many Rwandan children living in refugee camps in D.R.C. became separated from their families after these camps were destroyed. Some of these children, surviving on their own in conflict-prone, militia-controlled territories, fell prey to recruitment, both forcible and voluntary, by various armed rebel groups. Over 200 former child soldiers have been returned to Rwanda from D.R.C. and demobilized; the government expects more to be repatriated in the future. The Rwanda Defense Forces do not recruit child soldiers, and explicitly condemn this practice.

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. Rwanda has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List for not providing evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year. The government should take further steps to provide care for children exploited in prostitution, as well as vigorously investigate and prosecute traffickers.


The government's trafficking-related law enforcement efforts were minimal during the reporting period. Rwanda has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons, but traffickers could be prosecuted under laws against slavery, forced prostitution, kidnapping, and child labor. Government prosecutors did not provide statistics on individuals prosecuted under these laws during the reporting period. The parliament adopted significant judicial reforms in July 2004, and restructured Rwandan courts began functioning in September 2004. These reforms created "child issues courts," but they are not yet operational. During the year, the Rwandan National Police offered specialized training in recognizing trafficking, particularly trafficking involving children, to 185 police cadets.


The government provided limited protective services to victims of trafficking over the last year. In January 2004, the government's National Demobilization Commission opened a residential demobilization center to prepare child soldiers returning from Rwandan rebel groups in D.R.C. for reintegration into their home communities. During the year, 122 boys received three months of rehabilitation, including counseling, medical screening, mediation with their families, clothing, and schooling, and were returned to their families in May 2004. A second group of 87 children has been provided the same services and is scheduled for graduation in May 2005. The government financed no protective services for children exploited in prostitution, but 50 children in prostitution received health care and vocational training through the government's partnership with a local NGO. The Ministry of Gender also provided expertise and trainers to the NGO to assist in developing educational materials on responding to children in prostitution.


There are no government-run information campaigns specifically on trafficking, although the government ran campaigns to educate people about sexual violence against children, including condemnations of those individuals that solicit prostitutes. In January 2005, the Ministry of Labor held the first meeting of the Child Labor Forum, which includes relevant government ministries and donors, and seeks to address the serious problems of child labor faced by the country, including children engaged in prostitution. The Ministry of Education's program for street children returned 900 children to primary school and provided 45 children with job skill training. The Ministry of Gender conducted a variety of public education programs (including workshops, seminars, and radio broadcasts) related to the protection of women and children from sexual and gender-based discrimination and violence; government officials trained an estimated 24,000 women and children in Rwanda's provinces. Approximately 250 judges and 200 police officers received training from the Ministry of Gender on the new judicial reforms.

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