Gender Equality in Rwanda: Supporting the rights and empowerment of women and girls

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We have developed a working collaboration with Nea Armonia, an Italian based organization. The collaboration is focused on protecting the rights of women and girls, including victims of human trafficking. Both organisations have designed a program that empowers women and girls in Rwanda and particularly there is a need to seek for protection of women and young/single mothers; protect and support victims of trafficking; promote sexual education and health; encourage family planning to reduce unplanned pregnancy; and increase education and advancement opportunities for girls and women. 

hopeGender Equality in Rwanda: Supporting the rights and empowerment of women and girls
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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

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School club establishments to eradicate all barriers to their academic & socio -economic development

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This is an outreach activity that was Conducted by Hope Iwacu initiative in collaboration with Strive foundation Rwanda, a local Rwandan NGO in conjunction with Human Help Network. 10 schools from Nyamasheke and Rusizi District were represented in a 3-day Seminar. The specific objectives of the workshop were set as follows:

  • to provide the club leaders with background on general education in Rwanda and more understanding on how Hope Iwacu Initiative works to empower young girls and boys at infancy stage in understanding their rights and also suggesting solutions to their problems including the eradication of human trafficking in their surroundings,

  • to train the club leaders into skills to carry out the empowerment activities,

  • to develop  action plans to strengthen school clubs in ten (10) selected schools of Nyamasheke and Rusizi Districts.

The above methodology was done through theatrical performances and drama as a way of provoking the community to be part of the solution to the barriers that affect their academic & socio- economic development.

Results noted:

  • Participants received and learnt new methods, skills and techniques to empower boys and girls

  • Participants acquired knowledge to know how to implement YEWE! clubs

  • Members were expertly trained to be able to train others without watering down information

  • They were able to learn and share experiences with other schools

  • Learnt how to involve more communities in the YEWE! program

  • Learnt YEWE! skills

  • They learnt  more about sexual reproductive health and rights, drug abuse including human trafficking related matters

hopeSchool club establishments to eradicate all barriers to their academic & socio -economic development
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IT’S AN EMERGING CRIME: Human trafficking is among the dangerous crimes that is happening globally. Mr. Kabera Telesphore, the deputy chairperson of Hope Iwacu Initiative mentioned this during the one day meeting with community members of Ruhanga cell, Rusororo sector in Gasabo district. He emphasized the need to bring all stakeholders on board in order to come up with positive ideas and strategies to eradicate such a global  crime that has an ever lasting effects to the community development.

During the meeting, Mr. Kabera also informed the community members how human trafficking is arguably one of the most profitable trans-boundary  crimes today. He pointed out that According to Farr (2005), the sale of human beings is believed to be a $7 to $12 billion industry and ranks third, after the sale of drugs and arms, as the most lucrative international and illegal enterprise.

He revealed that according to the reliable sources, majority of the victims are rescued from Mozambique, Uganda, South Africa, Oman, China, Dubai, Malaysia and other Asian countries.

Testimony from the survivor of the human trafficking

Ms Sonia (not her real name) lost hope of being of surviving after spending almost three weeks in the Jungles which boarders with Mozambique and Tanzania en route to South Africa. She shared the terrible life she went through and how she got supported by the Government of Rwanda through the National Police of Rwanda to bring her back to her home Country.

As supported by Hope Iwacu Initiative, a local non-profit making organization that is committed to empowering the youth and women to eradicate human trafficking in Rwanda, Ms. Sonia is committed to continue sharing her difficult moments that she went through in order for the communities to understand how such an emerging crime is being operationalized on Rwandan soil.

In his remarks the chief guest the Vice mayor in charge of Economic affairs Mr. Mberabahizi Raymond while officiating the awareness campaign on human trafficking, appreciated the testimony and dialogue that was introduced by Hope Iwacu Initiative. He requested parents to take a role in parenting their children to be contented with what they have and continue working hard to sustain the primary needs of their families.

He went on to say that much emphasis should be put on finding strategies and solutions to the home based conflicts. That these are the root causes of such vulnerabilities that lead to getting trapped by Human traffickers. Further more, he made it clear that Gasabo District, is more committed to work closely with all like-minded partners who are more focused on improving the socio-economic transformation of the community members.

With the assistance from the Sector Executive Officer, Mr. Nduwayezu Alfred and his team at the decentralized level, all issues that were raised by the Community members were answered accordingly.

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Awareness campaign in the communities

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In partnership with the Gasabo district, Hope Iwacu Initiative agreed to engage its efforts in awareness raising especially on the dangers associated with human trafficking and also preventing crimes during the end of month community worker.
Our organization identified 5 Rwandan girls who were once survived in the human trafficking actions and today they are successful in their lives. Two Rwandan girls survived from Dubai where the human traffickers had taken them to do commercial sexual work and the other 2 were trapped from South Africa while 1 for God’s mercy survived international violence and today she is a born again and one of the best speaker from Gatsata suburb.
These girls (mentors) managed to cover 10 sites of 4 sectors of Gasabo district.


hopeAwareness campaign in the communities
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