Human trafficking racket busted
Police has arrested two people suspected to be part of a ring that traffics girls to Asian countries for commercial sex.
The two, both residents of Nyamirambo, a Kigali City suburb, were arrested Saturday afternoon in Kigali, after a tip-off from the father of one of the victims, according to police sources.
They are currently detained at Kicukiro Police Station.
Police says the duo is part of a ring believed to be based in China, where most girls are trafficked to for commercial sex in the disguise of getting them jobs.
At the time of arrest, the suspects (names withheld) were in the company of three girls who were scheduled to travel this week.
A police source, who preferred not to be named, said the suspects were scheduled to acquire visas from Uganda for the girls, before they could head to the Asian country.
“One of the girls told her family about it but a family member became suspicious and notified the police, which led to the arrests,” said the source.
“They had already sent photos of the girls as part of the process to secure visas,” he added.
According to police investigations, the suspects have agents in China who foot all the travel expenses.
Investigations indicate that the suspects were in regular contact with their funders in China.
The gang targets girls promising to get them well-paying jobs but instead lures them into commercial sex, on arrival, The New Times understands.
Police Spokesperson, Supt. Theos Badege, who confirmed the development, said investigations are still ongoing to ascertain if there are other girls the gang has trafficked.
“These are tendencies of people attempting to exploit others in the guise of helping them, and the public should be aware of this,” observed Badege.
“The public should be vigilant about people who promise them opportunities abroad like jobs or education, because in the end they force them into inhumane activities akin to slave trade. They should also share information with police in case they suspect such cases,” implored Badege. “Human trafficking is a real problem which everyone must fight.”
Meanwhile, according to police, three other girls have also alleged that the suspects had approached them and that they were supposed to travel to China in June.
Last year, seven cases of human trafficking were registered in the country, according to a 2011 police report.
Human trafficking is said to be one of the crimes on the increase across the region.
In January, last year, Police discovered two residential houses in Gikondo and Kacyiru, which accommodated 54 male Bangladesh nationals who had been trafficked into the country, en route to Mozambique.
The Eastern African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) organs committee meeting, held in Kigali in February, stepped up measures for regional countries to partner in combating transboundary crimes, including human trafficking.
Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, is currently the chair of the regional police body.
About 79 per cent of cases related to trafficking of persons, target girls and women for sexual exploitation, according to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report.
It is estimated that more than 2.4 million people are exploited by criminals annually.
Several organisations have pointed to Uganda as a major human trafficking route in the region.
The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) expressed concern about the increased trafficking of Ugandan women to Asia.
According to media reports, IOM says victims of trafficking whom it has helped to return to Uganda have reported being subjected to sexual slavery, rape and torture.
Reports indicate there may be as many as 600 trafficked Ugandan women currently in Malaysia, with between 10 and 20 more arriving each week.
Contact email: bosco.asiimwe[at]newtimes.co.rw