The government last week gazetted a new ministerial order outlining modalities of repatriation of the victim of crime of trafficking in persons as well as means to support the victim of the crime. The development comes at a time when Rwanda has been making efforts to address human trafficking challenges which have been reported in the country and the East African region. In recent years, authorities have reported rescuing human trafficking victims from different foreign countries. In 2017, prosecution filed 47 cases of human trafficking and 49 crimes in 2018. Many Rwandans, especially women, have been lured out of the country by unscrupulous individuals who end up selling them as either sex slaves or working for very little or no pay. Some of them have ended up in countries of Middle East. Previously, Rwanda Investigation Bureau said that majority of the victims are intercepted at the point of exit – either at the airport, or at the different border points of the country. The Africa Centre for Strategic Studies has previously reported that human trafficking is a US$13.1 billion annual enterprise in Africa. Below are five highlights of the new order: 1. Cost of repatriation According to the Ministerial Order, the ministry in charge of foreign affairs will meet the cost of transportation and other necessary means for repatriation of a victim of the crime of trafficking in persons to Rwanda. The ministry will have budgetary provisions annually to cover the cost of transportation and other necessary means for victim repatriation from wherever they will be found. “If a victim who is of Rwandan nationality or had the right of permanent residence in Rwanda by the time he or she was trafficked is identified abroad or in a transit country, the ministry in charge of foreign affairs collaborates with other relevant institutions in the country and abroad and pays the necessary cost to repatriate him or her to Rwanda,” the order reads in part. 2. Government entities involved According to the order, the government officials involved in repatriation of human trafficking victims back to Rwanda include; Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. Once a victim is in the country, other entities involved include Isange One-Stop Center for provision of medical services, local government and Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration. 3. Provisions of basic amenities Victims of human trafficking, according to the order will be provided with basic assistance and protection to prevent further abuse and insecurity. This will include shelter for victims in Rwanda or foreigners who are unable or do not want to immediately return to their country of origin. The victims will be received and sheltered at a place designated by the organ in charge of Isange One-Stop Centre service for a period not exceeding six months in consideration of his or her age, sex or the category of trafficking undergone. The victim sheltered is provided with basic needs, including food, drinks, clothes and hygiene items. During this time, victims will be provided with medical treatment and psychosocial services until their recovery both physically and mentally. “The first medical examination must be performed even if the victim appears to be in good health. The institution in charge of Isange One Stop Centre service provides annually the budget to cover the cost of support and services,” the order reads in part. “Information regarding the victim of crime of trafficking in persons is confidential and treated in respect of his or her right to confidentiality and privacy. The information may be shared only when it is necessary and with the victim’s consent,” the gazette order further reads. 4. Reintegration and asylum The order also has provision for reintegration of victims as well as asylum for those who do not wish to return to their countries of origin. “If the victim of crime of trafficking in persons has recovered and is being prepared for reintegration, the organ in charge of Isange One-Stop Center service hands over him or her to the District administration of his or her domicile so that the administration may assist him or her to be reintegrated,” the order reads in part. In the event that the victim is a foreigner and is unable or does not wish to return to his or her country, they will be assisted to obtain a residence permit or asylum in Rwanda. 5. Education and assistance in job creation In the event the victim dropped out of school, the district administration is expected to hand them over to general or technical and vocational or basic education to assist them to complete the interrupted education. The District administration to whom the victim was handed over assists them to create a job corresponding to his or her abilities and educational level. The authorities are also expected to monitor, care for them and make a written report every six (6) months on the welfare of the victim who was reintegrated or who has been granted a residence permit or asylum.