Cablegate: Rwanda 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report
DE RUEHLGB #0137/01 0581502
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271502Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5138
INFO RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
UNCLAS KIGALI 000137
DEPT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, AID, AND AF/RSA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB RW
SUBJECT: RWANDA 2007 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT
REF: SECSTATE 02731
1. Post submits the following information for the 2007
Trafficking in Persons report. Responses are keyed to reftel.
A. Rwanda is a source country for small numbers of women and
children trafficked for sexual exploitation, domestic labor,
and, in the case of male minors, child soldiering. There was
one report of a small number of children in the Eastern
Province being sent to Uganda for labor purposes, and reports
of a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)-based armed group
recruiting and trafficking Congolese from refugee camps for
use as forced laborers or child soldiers in the DRC. There
were no reliable statistics available on the extent of the
trafficking problem in Rwanda, but it is generally considered
to be very small. The Rwandan National Police monitor
trafficking cases, and reported none in the last year. Girls
who head households and girls who work as domestic laborers
are most at risk of sexual exploitation. According to the
2002 Rwandan National Census of Population and Housing,
352,550 children aged 6 to 17 were engaged in child labor,
11.9 percent of whom as domestic workers. A 2002 joint study
conducted by the Ministry of Public Service and Labor and
UNICEF estimated 2,140 child prostitutes in Rwanda.
B. As stated above, there were some reports of women and
children being trafficked for sexual exploitation, domestic
labor, and child soldiering. The largest trafficking problem
was underage prostitution; small numbers of impoverished
girls, typically between the ages of 14 and 18, used
prostitution as a means of survival, and some were exploited
by loosely organized prostitution networks. Due to the
genocide and deaths from HIV/AIDS, there were numerous
children who headed households, and some of these children
resorted to prostitution or may have been trafficked into
domestic servitude. There were no changes to the extent of
trafficking in Rwanda, which remains only a minor problem,
though government efforts to combat gender-based violence
(GBV), to improve community policing, and other measures to
support vulnerable populations will likely have a positive
impact in the coming years.
There is no indication that small crime groups or larger
organized crime syndicates are involved in trafficking in
Rwanda, nor that employment, travel, and tour agencies or
marriage brokers are involved with or fronting for
C. The Rwandan National Police, the Ministries of National
Service and Labor, of Education, of Gender and Family
Promotion, and of Local Administration and Social Affairs,
and the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration of
the National Security Service are involved in
D. The Government of Rwanda (GOR) faces several constraints
in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons (TIP),
primarily a lack of financial and human resources and many
competing demands on its limited capacities. Because there
is little belief in the GOR that TIP is a significant
problem, more efforts are directed to combat gender-based
violence than TIP specifically. (Note: The GOR acknowledges
the problem of underage prostitution, but does not consider
it a trafficking issue. End note.) There are some services
available for victims of GBV, but they are insufficient to
meet the needs of the affected population. The relatively
Qmeet the needs of the affected population. The relatively
inexperienced Rwandan bureaucracy is unable to systematically
record and track data on trafficking, further limiting its
ability to effectively focus anti-TIP efforts. There is very
little government corruption.
E. There is no single entity tasked with monitoring anti-TIP
efforts, and little capacity within the GOR to do so (see
Section 27. D.). In the absence of a trafficking statute,
the Rwandan National Police do track the number of
trafficking cases which they may prosecute under other laws.
They do not regularly publish detailed assessments of their
GBV prevention, prosecution, and treatment efforts, although
numbers of convictions obtained for various categories of
crimes are tracked. Figures on numbers of vulnerable
children moved to school or treatment programs and on victims
of GBV are sometimes available from various GOR agencies and
28. INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
A. The GOR does not have a law specifically prohibiting
trafficking in persons; however, it has laws against slavery,
forced prostitution, kidnapping, and child labor under which
traffickers may be prosecuted. (Note: Comprehensive draft
anti-TIP legislation has been incorporated into a revised
penal code that has passed a first review in the parliament.
End note.) The Constitution places heavy emphasis on the
protection of children. The following Rwandan laws are
relevant to TIP:
- 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.
- Articles 363 to 378 of the penal code provide for
punishment of prostitution, incitement to prostitution,
exploitation of prostitution and public indecency.
- Statutory order on the moral protection of youth (November
19, 1973) prohibits unaccompanied persons under 18 from
entering a bar or night club.
- 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. Forced marriage and involvement of children in
prostitution, pornography, drug trafficking and slavery are
also punishable crimes under the law. This law also
establishes that any sexual relations with a child under 18
are considered rape. Anyone who lives or attempts to live
with a child of less than 18 as husband or wife shall be
deemed to have committed rape. Under this law, the penalty
for rape of a child between 14 and 18 is 20 to 25 years in
prison, and life in prison for rape of a child under 14.
- 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
provisions. The labor code also expressly forbids forced
- Law No. 13/2002 (July 1, 2002) governs the armed forces and
Law No. 16/2002 (August 15, 2002) establishes the minimum age
for enrollment in the army.
- The National Policy for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
(2003) outlines measures to protect children from abuse and
exploitation and to provide them with access to health care,
education, and economic and psychosocial support.
The GOR has ratified ILO Conventions 138 and 182. Rwanda is
a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and the
Welfare of the Child, and has 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 a 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.
B. and C. The GOR uses slavery, forced prostitution,
kidnapping and anti-child labor laws to punish individuals
convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation and labor.
Punitive measures include imprisonment of three months to one
QPunitive 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. (See also section 28. A.) There were no figures
available on numbers of convictions for trafficking for
sexual exploitation and labor.
D. The penalty for rape ranges from a minimum of 15 years
imprisonment to a maximum of a life sentence if the rape
results in the severe chronic disease or death of the victim.
Any sexual relations with a child under 18 are considered
rape, and are punishable by between 20 years to life in
prison. Rape of a child resulting in severe chronic disease
or death of the victim is also punishable by life
E. Prostitution is illegal, and the penalty for prostitution
ranges from the preventative to the punitive. To prevent
recidivism, some prostitutes are subject to restraining
orders to stay home or probation and monitoring. 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.
However, the government has focused on the rehabilitation of
prostitutes rather than on prosecution, as the problem is
primarily one of economic necessity for the women involved
rather than 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 overnight and release
them the following day.
F. The government did not track numbers of human trafficking
cases prosecuted in the past year as it lacks specific
legislation. However, figures on prosecutions for other
trafficking-related crimes are available.
G. During the year the police offered specialized training in
recognizing trafficking, particularly trafficking involving
children, to many police cadets. The GOR provided training
on sex crimes and crimes against children to police as part
of the police training curriculum, and an NGO provided
additional training to police on child protection procedures.
NGOs provided local government child development committees
with training on monitoring child labor and sensitized
parents and children on child labor issues through these
committees. School-based programs included teacher training
on child labor monitoring and counseling and the formation of
student clubs to raise awareness of social issues including
child labor and HIV/AIDS.
H. The GOR cooperates with other governments in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. No
figures of such investigations were available, but a police
official said investigation into the trafficking of persons
from Burundi to Uganda via Rwanda was ongoing.
I. Rwanda has extradition treaties with most of its neighbors
and holds an active membership in the International Criminal
Police Organization (Interpol). There were no extradition
requests from other countries related to trafficking crimes.
J. There is no evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking, on either a local or institutional
level. The GOR has an office of the ombudsman and a
Prosecutor General which investigate institutional
transgressions. The Rwandan National Police have an internal
affairs department for investigations of corruption and other
offenses committed by police officers.
K. Not applicable.
L. Rwanda contributes troops to the African Union
peacekeeping operation in Darfur. They are considered to be
the most professional, disciplined, and experienced troops
involved in the peacekeeping operation. Training for these
Qinvolved in the peacekeeping operation. Training for these
troops is funded in part by monies from the President's
Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and they receive
instruction on HIV/AIDS prevention. Each battalion has an
HIV/AIDS awareness club headed by a non-commissioned officer
that provides peer to peer information on HIV/AIDS. Troops
are also given gender sensitivity training and are instructed
to treat every woman they encounter during their mission with
respect, sensitivity, and concern. There have been no
reports of trafficking, exploitation, or rape committed by
M. Not applicable.
29. PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
A. The GOR does not have a system in place to assist foreign
trafficking victims with relief from deportation, though
there were no reports of deportation of such victims.
B. The GOR is committed to combating gender-based violence
and to promotion of women and children's health, safety, and
empowerment and has developed several policies, training and
treatment programs, and sensitization campaigns to achieve
this goal. While there are few services directly aimed at
trafficking victims, they may take advantage of these other
programs. In October officials at police headquarters in
Kigali established a hotline for victims of GBV together with
an examination room, trained counselors, and easy access to a
police hospital for more intensive interventions. Each of
the 62 police stations nationwide had its own gender desk,
trained officer, and public outreach program. The national
gender desk in Kigali also monitored investigations and
prosecutions nationwide against GBV.
The government and NGOs provided rights training for orphans
and vulnerable children and for women during the year, as
well as economic, social, medical, and psychological support
for former sex workers.
C. As part of its efforts to combat GBV and to protect
orphans and vulnerable children, the GOR works closely with
NGOs and international organizations to provide the services
outlined above. The ministries of education and labor
collaborate on child labor issues and have established "catch
up" education centers for former child laborers. The Rwandan
National Police work with the Ministry of Local
Administration and Social Affairs and with several local NGOs
(including the Rwandan Women's Network, Avega and Hagaruka)
to provide women and orphans and vulnerable children with
rights and empowerment training.
D. 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 lawful custody
of the minor concerned. A police official reported that at
the Kigali airport in a recent incident, a government
official did not have proper documentation for her child and
was not allowed to depart until she could produce it.
E. Not applicable.
F. As outlined above, there are "catch-up" programs available
for former child laborers, and rehabilitation programs for
former prostitutes. Trafficking victims may be subject to
laws against prostitution, but as mentioned in section 28.
E., few prostitutes are arrested and detained for short
G. Victims of crime in Rwanda are encouraged to work with the
police on investigations and are able to file civil suits
seeking legal redress.
H. Both the GOR and local and international NGOs provide
assistance to victims of GBV and to former prostitutes and
child laborers. As described above, the Rwandan National
Police have established policies and procedures to assist
victims of GBV. There is a national child labor advisory
committee composed of government ministries and international
organizations that advises on policies and programs as well
as interventions in cases of exploitation. There is a
national policy on orphans and vulnerable children that
establishes support mechanisms for children, including
trafficking victims. There are several rehabilitation
Qtrafficking victims. There are several rehabilitation
programs for former prostitutes, run by both local and
national government bodies and by NGOs. Numbers of women and
children assisted by these programs are not available.
I. As mentioned elsewhere, the GOR offered training to police
and offered community sensitization programs on trafficking
and child protection issues. While employees of Rwandan
embassies and consulates do not receive specific training on
assisting trafficking victims, they can offer consular and
legal advice in such cases, as well as assistance with
repatriation and medical fees in concert with the host
government and local NGOs.
J. The GOR does not provide specific assistance to
repatriated nationals who are victims of trafficking, but
they would be able to access other services for victims of
K. Besides the government ministries mentioned above, several
NGOs and international organizations work on issues that are
related to trafficking, primarily under the aegis of
protection for women and children. These include
IntraHealth/Twubakane, Hagaruka, Avega, World Vision, KURET,
Sisters of Rwanda, FACT-Rwanda, Rwandan Women's Network,
CESTRAR, Imbuto Foundation, and PROFEMME. UNDP, UNICEF, ILO,
the World Food Program, and USAID are also involved in
working with trafficking victims through the improvement of
health care to women and children, empowerment of women,
promotion and protection of rights, and prevention of child
labor and labor exploitation. These organizations report
significant policy support and much good will on the part of
the GOR to support their efforts, despite resource and
A. The GOR acknowledges and takes action, within the limits
of its capacity, to address child prostitution and GBV.
There are so few confirmed instances of trafficking that the
government does not view it as an important priority among
many other competing needs and law enforcement concerns.
B. The GOR and NGOs offered training and awareness campaigns
on trafficking and on rights of women and children targeting
both potential trafficking victims and the community at large
(See section 28. G.). A police official reported that men
arrested for procuring prostitutes received sensitization on
C. There is a national advisory committee on child labor
composed of members of various government ministries,
international organizations, and NGOs. Cooperation between
civil society and the GOR on women and children's issues and
policy implementation is strong.
D. A police official described border control measures as
"strict" and cited such measures as a key component to
prevention of TIP. 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
(see section 29. D.). 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 regulations on safety, cargo, and documentation.
The relevant government agencies are effective at monitoring
immigration and emigration patterns along borders, and police
officers are trained to observe drivers and passengers and to
investigate any suspected irregularities, including any
possible indications of trafficking.
E. The GOR does not have a single coordination mechanism,
working group, or point of contact specifically directed
toward trafficking; however, a similar group exists to
address issues of child labor and exploitation (see section
29. H.). The office of the ombudsman is charged with
addressing public corruption.
F. With international organizations and NGOs such as UNICEF
and World Vision, the GOR has developed a national strategy
on orphans and vulnerable children and a policy on child
labor. These were developed in collaboration with civil
society and various government stakeholders, and have been
disseminated through awareness campaigns and workshops.
G. As stated in section 30. B., men arrested for procuring
QG. As stated in section 30. B., men arrested for procuring
prostitutes receive information on women's rights. The
police also offered training to women on their rights and
there were programs to sensitize communities on child labor,
including prostitution, both of which can help decrease
demand for commercial sex acts.
I. See section 28. L.