The United States has commended the Government of Rwanda for its efforts to combat human trafficking and emphasized the need for governments to prosecute and heavily punish the perpetrators of the crime if it is to be averted.
Addressing the media through a live video call yesterday, Nan Kenelly, the Deputy Director at the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the US State Department said that Rwanda has registered commendable progress in the past few years, but human trafficking has continued to go unnoticed in many other countries.
“Turning to Rwanda, I think there were some very important and significant efforts made over the past year and we commend the government of Rwanda for the progress that has been made,”
“We are impressed with the Rwanda National Police Anti-trafficking unit and we understand that they have helped free some Burundian girls who were held for forced prostitution,” Kenelly said.
She noted that it is important for police and other law enforcement organs to identify the victims of human trafficking and arrest the criminals behind the acts. She added that the next step would be prosecuting them as a deterrent.
Kenelly also commended the Isange Centre at the Rwanda National Police where such victims are transferred and given necessary rehabilitation and treatment before they are handed back to their families.
She pointed out that the government continues to make the promotion and protection of women’s and children’s rights a priority.
The US further commended the Ministry of Youth and the National AIDS Control Commission campaign against the commercial sexual exploitation of children by people identified by the government as “sugar daddies” and “sugar mommies”.
The campaign, entitled Sinigurisha (“I am not for sale!”) which included TV and radio spots, print materials, and billboards greatly reduced cases of child prostitution. Also commended are the country’s gender equality programs and strict immigration rules.