Some sold by a family members sometimes lured by false promises of education and a “better” life — the reality is that these trafficked and exploited children are held in slave-like conditions without enough food, shelter or clothing, and are often severely abused and cut off from all contact with their families.
Children are often trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation or for labor, such as domestic, agricultural work, factory work and mining, or they’re forced to fight in conflicts. The most vulnerable children, particularly refugees and migrants, are often preyed upon and their hopes for an education, job or a better life.
Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, and as a result, children are forced to drop out of school, risk their lives and are deprived of what every child deserves – a future.
Beata Mukandoli 16years old told us that :”i was once a victim of human trafficking , our neighbor who lives in the city came to my mother two years ago by then all schools were closed she promised to take me in Kigali where education is better than my home In cyanika, to my surprise I ended up being a house maid taking care of her children while she is working like a sex work to my knowledge she left our village when she was 13years old means she started selling herself at a young age, I was not allowed to contact anyone even my own single mother till I got my classmate on Facebook that how I was rescued from that miserable life where was being beaten, denied food or sometimes sit outside at late hours while my boss is sleeping with her clients I was afraid that they will rape me”.
Joseph Ndyanabo a parent to boys and girls all in their teenage said that ” Raising such young generation is not easy, as us who were born before computer and internet usage, for example during lockdown we did our best as parents to provide our children with necessary tools and gadgets to learn online but do you know what they were watching? Inappropriate movies and musics, or just on social medias, it’s scary if you see the trend of betting, scams, and job adverts wich those young people are falling victims to join, saying that we can create strong passwords or parental guidance the lack of knowledge push us to ask for their assistance to set everything we need on our phones and computers”.
“The sad part is some of the sex workers across the border, are girls under age 18, Many are trafficked into the town, while others are forced into the sex trade, or tricked by admirers on social medias these girls are extremely vulnerable, living their lives exposed to serious risks, including physical, sexual and psychological violence.”
Teacher Martha Uwera at kidaho primary school said that :” Not only did Internet improve our social life where we can connect with different people worldwide, it can destroy when used in a wrong way I always advise my students to be careful of how they use it I overheard my students sharing trending stuffs on social medias and they copy everything they see wich some are good and mostly they copy bad things, like betting, drugs abuse or join cults, online theft or meet cyber bullying my view is the government should review the online protection policy to protect kids from harm even child trafficking.”
In Rwanda human trafficking is punishable by Article 22 establishes a different sentencing regime for those who knowingly engage in forced labour, slavery, and related services (between one and three years, and a fine of 1–3 million RWF). In the case that a TIP victim is forced into labour, the sentence increases to between five and 10 years, with a fine of 5–10 million RWF. In a bid to discourage child exploitation and particularly vulnerable persons, if forced labour is committed against a child and particularly a vulnerable person (people with disabilities), the offender is liable to an imprisonment of between 10 and 15 years, and a fine of 10–15 million RWF.
Article 23 sets out particular offences related to exploitation resulting from guardianship and adoption to protect particularly vulnerable persons (orphans) when intention for exploitation is proven. The offender gets life imprisonment to deter serious crime against most vulnerable persons such as children.
Sexual exploitation is a separate offence different from TIP, which is outlined in Article 24. If any sexual action is proved to be exploitative, then perpetrators, accomplices, and facilitators of the crime can be sentenced to an imprisonment of between three and five years, and a fine of 3–5 million RWF. The penalty is doubled in some specific situations such as in cases of co-offenders, or if the crime is committed by an ascendant of the victim or by a domestic servant of the victim, or if the offender exercises authority over the victim. The provision is assumed to go beyond the definition of human trafficking to all related sex offences.
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