“Do not talk to strangers.” You’ve heard this rule from your parents and teachers. This is because strangers, especially old and strong ones may have bad intentions and you may not be able to defend yourself against them.
For example, you may get kidnapped which is against your rights as a human being and as a child. By definition, kidnapping is detaining a person by threat, force or deceit without the authority of the law.
Article 224 paragraph one of the Penal Code says, “A person who abducts a child from his/her parents or guardians or where he/she habitually resides shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of fifty thousand (50,000) to five hundred thousand (500,000) Rwandan francs.”
However, kidnapping is not only carried out by strangers. It can be done by relatives and other people that you know. As long as someone takes a child without the permission of his/her parents or guardians, then they have kidnapped or abducted that child.
Article 224, paragraph two of the Penal Code, says that if the abduction of a child from his/her parents is committed by either parent, the offender shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of two (2) years to five (5) years and a fine of one hundred thousand (100,000) Rwandan francs.
You may be wondering how it is possible for a parent to kidnap their own child. It can happen if the parents are separated or divorced and one of the parents has been granted custody of the children. If the other parent takes a child or children without the permission of the parent who was granted custody, then it is illegal.
If the person who has kidnapped a child takes the child out of the country, the punishment increases 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.” This is according to article 258 of the Penal Code of Rwanda.
If the child who has been kidnapped is detained for more than a month, the offender is sentenced to seven years in prison.
It is important to remember that much as the person who commits the crime of kidnap is punished, the danger is irreversible, especially once they have caused you harm. As a precaution, do not talk to strangers and do not go with anyone unless your parents have told you that you can.