COUNTERING HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN RWANDA: HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
At least 150 at Kigali Serena Hotel acquired skills on detecting the tricks of human traffickers and signs that should set red flags on some guests’ behaviors.
Organised by Hope Iwacu Initiative in collaboration with Rwanda Bureau of Investigation (RIB), the session was offered to the hotel’s employees from different departments on Thursday 17th May 2018.
David Bwimba who represented RIB cautioned the hoteliers that they are among the most likely to fall a prey to human traffickers who lure them with better jobs in developed Countries like Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Chine, Malysia, South Africa to mention but a few.
“These Crimes are present in Rwanda and they are cross border crimes but they also exist within the country because someone can be held a victim even here in the hotel but we often investigate cross border crimes because those victims abroad call for help but victims inside here rarely speak out. Human Trafficking is illegal everywhere in the world. Let’s work together to fight it,” he said.
Bwimba said that Rwanda registered 47 human trafficking cases last year in 2017 with most victims coming from Oman, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, among others.
“You should help report the suspects. They often spend time in hotels during their work but let’s together also ensure the respect of human rights in our communities,” he said.
Télésphore Kabera, the Secretariat Coordinator at Hope Iwacu Initiative said hotels and motels are among the leading venues of human trafficking and urged the hoteliers to be cautious.
“You should be suspicious with those guests who ask for isolated rooms, reserve with different names from those they use in the hotel, keep distance from front desk, try to hide who they are, need multiple room keys. All these actions might act as red flags alerting you to a potential trafficking situation,” he said.
Human trafficking appears in many forms including sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery, domestic servitude, removal of organs, forced begging, illegal adoption, among others.
Kabera said that human trafficking is currently the third largest international criminal industry with annual profit of $32 billion, behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking.
Hoteliers pledge vigilance
Participants said the lessons opened their eyes and committed to being vigilant against any crimes that can get into their premises.
Bosco Gahigi, the Security Manager, said he also faced attempts of human traffickers but ignored them because he had acquired lessons about their tricks.
“Some of you might have also been tempted with jobs or scholarships overseas. Be careful! You can end there in forced sexual acts or labour while you can’t even dare report your case to police because you are there as an illegal migrant. Be suspicious that time you see a guest who avoids check-ins, needs no room cleaning for days, puts on ‘do not disturb’ mark for 12 hours,” he urged colleagues.
Emmanuel Mushayija said the lessons should also go to youth around the country because they are the most targeted and easier to win. He added that he had heard of the human trafficking in other countries like Libya but has got to know it is also present in Rwanda.
Jeanne Kayitesi, the Human Resource Manager at Kigali Serena Hotel, said the lessons will help staff carry out their respective duties well while protecting the hotel from being a venue of crimes especially human trafficking.
“These participants will share lessons with their colleagues and that will improve the security in the hotel. We haven’t recorded any such Crimes here but it is important to mitigate risks as traffickers keep changing tricks,” she said.
Article 252 of Rwanda’s Penal Code stipulates that human trafficking attracts penalties of a term of imprisonment of seven to ten years and a fine of five million to ten million Rwandan francs.
Bosco Gahigi, the Security Manager at Kigali Serena Hotel, said he also emphasized on collaborative initiatives as a way to go in eradicating human trafficking in the Region.
Kigali Serena Hotel staff follow lessons on fighting human trafficking
Télésphore Kabera, the Secretariat Coordinator at Hope Iwacu Initiative said hotels and motels are among the leading venues of human trafficking