The Acting Commissioner General of Police, Mary Gahonzire, yesterday called upon religious leaders to come out strongly against child trafficking which she said is on the increase.
Gahonzire said that some people have resorted to the business of trafficking children to neighbouring countries on the promise of highly paying jobs, where the children have ended up living under harsh conditions of forced labour and commercial sex.
She was addressing the annual meeting that brings together the national police and all heads of religious denominations.
The meeting held at the police head quarters in Kacyiru sought to lay strategies of curbing crime in the country.
Gahonzire urged the leaders to lay strategies in their respective churches as God’s people to report all crimes which she said are a hindrance to national development.
“Crimes start at a slow pace and keep on increasing. Your commitment to preach against such evil amongst your followers will be a big boost,” Gahonzire said.
According to the US State Department, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Rwandan children are trafficked into Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya for manual labour or commercial sex exploitation.
The report further states that older females reportedly offer vulnerable younger girls room and board, eventually pushing them into prostitution to meet their upkeep.
In June last year, it was reported in the Ugandan press that children from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are reportedly trafficked into Uganda for sexual exploitation, commercial and agricultural labour.
Rwanda’s Penal and Labour codes prohibit slavery, forced labour and sexual exploitation.
According to Gahonzire, other crimes reportedly on the increase are drug abuse and gender based violence which have at times resulted in deaths.
She urged the clergy to stop fighting amongst themselves over properties and other petty issues and embark on the noble cause of unity towards the country’s development.
She warned religions that hold their services in risky places and those that hold their prayers late in the night bring disorder in different communities, saying that once caught, they will be dealt with accordingly.
The Mufti, Sheikh Saleh Habimana called upon all Muslims and other religious leaders to unite in rebuilding the country which was almost brought to ashes during the 1994 Genocide.
“We should work hand-in-hand for the well being of the Rwandan community,” Habimana said.