A research carried out by Never Again Rwanda — a civil society organisation has revealed that Rwandans are involved in trafficking their relatives within and outside the country.
The one-year research was concluded in July, according to David Baguma a research fellow at Never Again Rwanda.
“We cannot be precise about the percentage but we found several cases where one takes a relative especially girls from the village to a town or outside the country,” said Mr Baguma.
He added that the educated Rwandans traffic their relatives as far as Dubai “and as relatives are trusted to receive wages on behalf of the relatives they trafficked.”
Prosecution has not been able to break down statistics to reveal cases for human trafficking that involve relatives alone but general statistics show 39 cases of human trafficking for the year 2018/2019 were received.
Of the 55 suspects (27 women and 28 men), 22 were convicted in the 15 of 20 cases won.
Currently, an appeal case is ongoing at the Court of Appeal in Kigali where a man appealed 10 year sentence he was handed by the High Court Chamber of International Crimes in 2017 for trafficking a 15-year old niece to Uganda.
Damascene Muhawenimana, 36, said he did not know he was committing crime by taking his niece (daughter of his sister) to Uganda where she eventually married.
“My niece asked me to take her to Uganda where I was living with my family and I didn’t bother asking permission from the mother,” he argued on September 12.
Prosecution maintained that Mr Muhawenimana took advantage of the girl’s impoverishment, sneaking her into a foreign country where she was made a house keeper without pay and subjecting her to early marriage.