The right to protection from trafficking

Those who kidnap and traffic children do not have good intentions. They cut them off their families, interrupt their childhood, involve them in harmful activities or sell them for personal gain. This is why the Penal Code of Rwanda takes the offense of child trafficking seriously and imposes heavy penalties for it. 

Article 258 of the Penal Code says: “Any person who kidnaps or removes a child out of the country  shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of seven (7) years to ten (10)  years and a fine of  five hundred thousand (500,000) to  five million (5,000,000) Rwandan francs.”

If someone practices child trafficking in order to involve the child in prostitution or any other indecent practices, they are punishable according to article 259 of the Penal Code.

In this regard, the punishment for inciting, helping or facilitating a child to engage in prostitution or indecent practices is a term of imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of two to five million Rwandan francs.

If the child is aged between twelve and eighteen, the punishment is increased a term of imprisonment of more than five years to seven years and a fine of three million to eight million Rwandan francs. The punishment is even more severe if the child is below twelve years of age because in that case, the minimum term of imprisonment is seven years while the minimum fine is five million Rwandan francs

Article 260 of the Penal Code prohibits recruiting, inducing, manipulating or holding a child in order to involve him/her in indecent practices. It also prohibits opening a building whose intention is for indecent practices which involve children.

Furthermore, article 260 says that it is illegal to open, sell, rent or lend a building for purpose of indecent practices involving a child. Basically, it is illegal to pursue any activity whose intention is to involve children in indecent practices.

Any person who gets involved in any of the above is liable to a term of imprisonment of  more than five  (5) years to seven (7) years and a fine of five million (5,000,000) to  ten million (10,000,000) Rwandan francs.  

If child trafficking is being committed by members of a criminal organization as their main business, the punishment prescribed by each member of the organization is the same. It does not matter if the offender is a leader or not. He/she is liable to a term of imprisonment of seven to ten years and a fine of eight million to fifteen million Rwandan francs.

 Despite the severe punishments, people are still likely to commit these crimes. It is therefore important to be wary of interacting with strangers in the absence of your parents or guardians.