The Interpol ‘Turn Back Crime’ global campaign was officially launched in Rwanda yesterday with a call to the public to cooperate with security organs to prevent crime.
Rwanda becomes the third country in Africa to launch the campaign which seeks to raise awareness on the nature of organised crime with the ultimate goal of driving a cross-border response to support the global police community in making the world a safer place.
The event, which coincided with the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism on ending violence against women and girls, was inaugurated under the theme: “Turn back crime against women and girls”, the synergy of African security organs.”
The exercise, which started with a ‘Walk to end Violence against Women and Girls’, also marked the end of the two-day Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD) Annual General Assembly on the role of security organs in eliminating violence against women and girls, in which participants from 40 African countries took part.
Speaking at the launch, Alison Bernard, the Interpol communications officer, noted that fighting gender violence required concerted effort.
“We will not defeat gender-based violence unless we mobilise the whole society,” Alison noted.
“Prevention is what Interpol’s ‘Turn Back Crime’ is about. It is about enabling everyone to take necessary steps to understand crime and stay away from it,” she added.
“This campaign is about empowering each one of you to help prevent crime. It is about you, your family, business and the community,” she observed.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Damas Gatare, the Commissioner for Community Policing, noted that modern day slavery is an emerging crime in Rwanda, with many victims trafficked to Europe, Asia and Malaysia for sexual and other exploitative activities.
Latest statistics indicate that at least 80 per cent of victims of human trafficking are women and girls while 70 per cent of them end up becoming victims of sexual harassment.
He, however, said the government had enacted policies and set up rehabilitation centres as a response to both GBV and trafficking in persons.
Rwanda, in most cases, is used as a transit route for traffickers and Rwanda National Police has since 2009 rescued 153 people including 64 Bangladeshi and Ugandans who were being trafficked to other countries through Rwanda.
Police spokesperson Chief Supt. Celestin Twahirwa said the Force will take the awareness campaign down to the grassroots to further sensitise the public on their role in preventing crime and GBV in particular while seeking intervention from Isange One-Stop centres currently being scaled up to all district hospitals across the country.