Cablegate: Rwanda Tip Draft


DE RUEHLGB #0212/01 0601608
R 011608Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. 06 STATE 202745
B. 06 KIGALI 464
C. 06 KIGALI 199

This is sensitive but unclassified. Paragraphs are keyed to

27.A. 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, engage in prostitution as a means of
survival and are exploited by loosely organized prostitution
networks. Girls who head households and girls who work as
domestic laborers are most at risk of sexual exploitation.
The most recent government data (the General Population and
Housing Census) indicated 170,000 children in domestic
service and 2,000 in prostitution.

-B. By the UN and Trafficking Victims Protection
Reauthorization Acts definition, the only trafficking problem
in Rwanda is children engaged in prostitution. The
government has made progress in its efforts to combat TIP,
however, there are a lack of statistics to quantify the
actions the government is taking to address the problem.
This is due to inefficient administration in the Ministries
charged with TIP related action, a relatively inexperienced
bureaucracy that does not systematically record and track
data and the belief at all levels of GOR leadership that
trafficking is not a significant problem in the country.
(Note. GOR officials are forthright in acknowledging the
underage prostitution problem, however, they do not equate
child prostitution with trafficking. End note.)

-C. Rwanda is a small, densely populated country with a
strong central government and effective military,
intelligence and security services and the GOR plays a large
role in the everyday life of all Rwandans. There were seven
primary land border crossings and two international airports,
and all were effectively staffed by officials from the
immigration service- a component of the National Security
Service- and coordinated closely with the military and
national police. There is a heavy police presence on the
national road network, including a high number of police
checkpoints that monitor traffic and check vehicles to
enforce safety regulations.

At primary road checkpoints and international ports of entry,
government officials question adult males traveling with
children and no adult female. If the man does not posses an
official document, signed by the mother or legal female
custodian, he will be held while the authorities contact the
mother (or custodian) to confirm there is no problem. This
standing procedure is possible due to the effectiveness of
the security forces and internal intelligence network.

The GOR does not have a specific law addressing trafficking,
however, it uses kidnapping, forced prostitution and child
protection laws to address trafficking crimes.

-D. The government does not systematically monitor its
anti-trafficking efforts (please see 27.B).

28.A. The government acknowledges and takes action, within
the limits of its capacity, to address child prostitution.
However, government officials do not use the USG definition
characterizing all child prostitutes as trafficking victims.
There is no evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking on a local or institutional level.

-B. The Rwandan National Police (RNP) is the lead agency in
enforcing child prostitution laws. The Ministries of Labor,
Education, Gender and Local Government all have roles in
assisting children involved in child prostitution.

-C. The Ministry of Gender and Family Support (MIGEPROF), the
GOR,s lead agency for assisting prostitutes and child
laborers, has developed public information campaigns with
UNICEF and USAID sensitizing potential victims (underage
prostitutes) on health care, promoting women,s rights and
education on sexual and gender-based violence.

-D,E. The GOR has a strong commitment to promoting women,s
participation in economic decision making, evidenced by the
high proportion of women parliamentarians and Cabinet
Ministers, the Constitution requires a minimun of thrity
percent of parliamentarians to be women. The government works
with several international and local NGOs to provide health
services, temporary housing and vocational training.

UNDP, UNICEF, and USAID are involved in working with
trafficking victims through the improvement of health care to
women and children, empowerment of women, and promotion and
protection of rights. Sexual and gender-based violence
(SGBV) continues to be a major concern in Rwanda. USAID has
responded to this through a series of programs, mostly
directed at females, which both raise awareness and promote
opportunities. USAID continues to support a project on
&Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS for Adolescent Girls8,
with the objective of empowering young girls to cope with
sexual and gender based violence.

Rwanda is a new participant in the USAID Women,s Legal
Rights Initiative which will develop a course on gender and
domestic relations for the new Institute of Legal Practice
and Development (a national legal training center), print a
women,s rights training manual, assist with the development
of ProFemmes, an umbrella organization for women,s NGOs, and
will hold awareness raising events related to women,s
rights. The program works closely with other donors.

The USAID supported &Women Investment Fund8 is a
micro-finance program for women that promotes peace, unity
and reconciliation by reinforcing the economic capacity of
women in order to improve the socio-economic conditions of
the family.

USG PEPFAR provides support to orphans and vulnerable
children. Given that economic &survival8 is the
overwhelming cause of prostitution, programs that reduce
poverty are fundamental. Orphans and vulnerable children
live on the economic margins of life in Rwanda and are among
the highest risk groups for prostitution.

USAID is funding a program through an NGO to reduce
gender-based violence (GBV). IntraHealth/Twubakane has a
two-pronged approach to addressing GBV, including: supporting
empowerment activities focused on women and girls, and
services that support women who are victims of battery and
sexual assault and in need of support for family
planning/reproductive health decision-making, and increasing
male involvement and support for improved reproductive health.

UNICEF and its partners are helping Rwandan children,
especially in the areas of health, counseling and education,
income-generating activities and vocational training
preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS through education and
counseling; providing immunization; and providing support for
the regular school system and assisting children outside of
the regular school system.

-F. The relevant government agencies are effective at
monitoring immigration and emigration patterns along borders.
The National Police maintain security checkpoints on all
major roads throughout the country to monitor traffic flow
and to conduct regular inspections of vehicles for safety,
cargo and documentation. Police officers are trained to
observe drivers and passengers and to investigate any
suspected irregularities, including any possible indications
of trafficking.

-G. The government has an ombudsman office, an auditor
general office and the RNP has an internal department for
corruption investigations of police officers.

-H. The government does not have a national plan of action
specifically addressing trafficking in persons, however, it
has developed a national plan of action to address the
problem of child labor. MIFOTRA is the lead agency on the
long term plan of action on worst forms of child labor.
(please see 30.C.).

Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers
29.A. The government does not have a law specifically
prohibiting trafficking in persons; however, it has laws
against slavery, forced prostitution, kidnapping, and
anti-child labor under which traffickers can be prosecuted.
The Constitution places heavy emphasis on children. The
Rwandan laws relevant to trafficking:
-- Article 28 of the Constitution guarantees every child
special measures of protection by his/her family, society and
the State.
-- Article 38 of the Constitution provides for free primary
education for all children.
-- Law No. 27/2001 (April 28, 2001) includes provisions for
the protection of the child against violence. Article 4
states that the minimum age for recruitment into the army is
18; and forced marriage, involvement of children in
prostitution, drug trafficking and slavery are crimes
punishable by law.
-- Law No. 51/2001 establishing the Labor Code states that
the child shall not be employed for night tasks that are
unhealthy or dangerous. Articles 192 and 194 of the labor
code provide for penalties against those who violate said
-- Law No. 13 (July 1, 2002) governs the armed forces and Law
No. 16 (August 15, 2002) establishes the minimum age for
enrollment in the army.

--B,C. The government uses slavery, forced prostitution,
kidnapping and anti-child labor laws to punish individuals
convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation. Punitive
measures include imprisonment of three months to one year and
a fine for repeat offenders; imprisonment of three months to
five years for those who entice others into prostitution;
imprisonment of six months to six years and a fine for those
who procure prostitutes; and imprisonment of one to five
years for those who financially benefit from the proceeds.

--D. Gender based violence is a problem in Rwanda. The
penalty for rape ranges from a minimum of 15 years
imprisonment to a maximum of a death sentence if the rape
results in the severe chronic disease or death of the victim.
(Note. The cabinet repealled the death sentence in late
December 2006. End note.)

--E. Prostitution is illegal, the penalty for prostitution
ranges from the preventative to the punitive. Measures to
prevent the continuation of prostitution include restraining
orders to contain them at home and probation to closely
monitor their activities. Punitive measures include
imprisonment of three months to one year and a fine for
repeat offenders; imprisonment of three months to five years
for those who entice others into prostitution; imprisonment
of six months to six years and a fine for those who procure
prostitutes; and imprisonment of one to five years for those
who financially benefit form the proceeds. However, the
government has focused on the rehabilitation of prostitutes
rather than prosecution, as the problem is primarily one of
economic necessity for the women rather than a problem of
criminal intent and disregard for the rule of law. The GOR
does not regularly arrest prostitutes to avoid adding to an
already over-burdened court system, instead, police typically
detain prostitutes over night and release them the following

--F. The government did not prosecute any trafficking cases
during the year, however, .

--G. There is no indication of any involvement of small
criminal groups or larger international crime syndicates;
employment, travel, or tourism agencies; or marriage brokers
fronting for traffickers or crime groups to traffic
individuals. There is no evidence that government officials
are involved in any aspect of prostitution, including
underage prostitution.

--H, I. The relevant government agencies are effective at
monitoring the borders (please see 27.C.). The National
Police maintain security checkpoints on all major roads
throughout the country to monitor traffic flow and to conduct
regular inspections of vehicles for safety, cargo and
documentation. Police officers are trained to observe
drivers and passengers and to investigate any suspected
irregularities, including any possible indications of

--J, K. Rwanda has extradition treaties with most neighbors
and holds an active membership in the International Criminal
Police Organization (Interpol). Rwandan law enforcement
officials reported no requests for other countries to report
on trafficking-related issues but would do so if it received
a request. The GOR coordinates well with other governments
in the region- with the exception of the GDRC- but did not
have specific data on underage prostitution cases.

--L-N. There is no evidence that government officials are
involved in any aspect of underage prostitution or tolerance
of any other forms of trafficking.

--O. The government has ratified ILO Conventions 138 and 182.
Rwanda has signed United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and the Welfare
of the Child, and acceded to the Optional Protocols on the
Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and on Child
Trafficking, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
Rwanda is also signatory to the UNESCO World Declaration on
Education for All, the UN Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN
Resolution 48/96 on Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

Protection and Assistance to Victims
30.A-C. The Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) works with the
Ministry of Labor (MIFOTRA) in matters of child labor.
MINEDUC runs &catch-up8 education centers that educate
children under eighteen who had missed all or part of their
primary education due to working. The Ministry of Local
Administration and Social Affairs (MINALOC) oversees local
government committees that address education and other child
welfare issues. The Ministry of Gender and Family Protection
(MIGEPROF) is the lead agency for child protection and the
implementation of the Orphans and other vulnerable children
(OVC) policies.

The strategic plan for Rwanda, &Rwanda Vision 20208, sets
benchmarks for the country,s development polices including
committing the country to providing free primary education,
and reducing drop-out rates, especially among girls. The
Rwandan Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), the
macro-level policy guidance that serves as the framework for
the implementation of development plans, identifies OVC as a
segment of the Rwandan population requiring special
The government has a National OVC Policy with the main
objective &to protect the rights of the child and to ensure
the physical and psychosocial long-term development of
orphans and other vulnerable children.8 Specific objectives
include: assuring access to health services, assuring access
to free primary education, and enhance the coordination of
all programs and interventions concerning orphans and other
vulnerable children to ensure systematic monitoring and
evaluation. The National Human Rights Commission has a child
rights unit.

A National Plan of Action on Child Labor was drafted by
MIFOTRA with extensive input from UNICEF, MIGEPROF, and
MINEDUC is currently in cabinet. The plan identifies
prostitution and domestic workers as two of the forms of
child labor to be addressed. It includes sensitization
campaigns and strengthening relevant laws that address these

-D. No prostitutes have been prosecuted in the last twelve

-F,I. The government worked closely with United Nations
International Children,s Education Fund (UNICEF) to
formulate national policy regarding the objective of
universal quality primary education and has formed a national
committee (Education for All) to address the issue of girls,
education. Other international and national NGOs involved
with the government in the direct or indirect combating of
underage prostitution include World Vision, Save the
Children, Sharing Rwanda, Sisters of Rwanda, Hagauruka, ADOA
and Umurimo.

-H. The number of repatriated trafficking victims does not
meet the minimum threshold for it to be recognized as an
issue. (Note. In 2005 post included The National
Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) as it
assists Rwandan combatants in eastern DRC, some of who are
child soldiers recruited by the Democratic Forces to Liberate
Rwanda (FDLR). However, post has re-evaluated its position
and does not now consider Rwandan child combatants as
trafficking victims. According to the RDRC, every child
ex-combatant is a Rwandan born to Rwandans expelled in the
1994 civil war. As the children accompanied their parents,
and were raised in DRC and subsequently recruited into the
FDLR by their Rwandan fathers, they do not fit the definition
of trafficking victims. End note.)

Point of Contact
Primary point of contact is poloff George Learned:
(250)505.601, ext. 3311;

Pol chief spent approximately 2 hours and Poloff spent
approximately 45 hours preparing this report.


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