Today we investigate a report of a Rwandan national, Scovia Mbabazi, who is said to have kidnapped a 15 year old boy here in Rwanda, with the intention of selling him in Uganda. Now, how Mbabazi managed to pull this one off is still a puzzle for us.
A 15 year old boy is at the prime of puberty and not really a child by any measure, he would somehow be in the know how that his life is in danger.
It is important before rushing to dismiss this one reported case as being an isolated one, to look at how in the first place this one child was lured into an unknown world to Uganda.
What is his family back-ground? Were his parents complicit in this criminal act?
These are relevant questions to ask if we are to work out ways, in our different communities of protecting our children against child traffickers, while interrogating the root causes of this vice.
Child trafficking is a symptom of the poverty in our society, most children drop out school out of their parents failure to pay fees for them. Others are trafficked merely for labour to send money back home.
Teenagers are trafficked to as far as Europe where they are pimped into sex slavery. Rwanda is landlocked, chances are slim of this kind of trade in children.
However, it is important to examine the pattern within the East African Community, given the rampant reports in neighbouring countries, of child sacrifices for ‘muti’ by scrupulous business people in a bid to make more profits.
We ended last year disgusted at the gruesome reports of the abductions and killings of Albino’s again for ‘muti’.
The basis of our contention being that there must be robust policy interventions at national, regional and international levels, that work against child trafficking, while putting in place measures for heavy penalties against offenders.
This must be accompanied by an intense education awareness or sensitisation programme, again at these levels. The society needs to understand that trafficking in humans is wrong, a violation of the rights of those trafficked.
There has to be a stakeholder approach, between relevant UN agencies, NGO’s, the media and the Government, to define and curb this heinous criminal act before it gets out of hand. There is no smoke without fire.