Burundian police intercepted on 28 January 13 women and one boy, victims of human trafficking and two people (a man and woman) allegedly involved in the trafficking of the latter in Mabanda commune, in southern Burundi.
“These people were in two buses when they got arrested. They were visibly heading for the Burundian border to later on enter Tanzania, “said Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye on 29 January.
The police seized their passports which were new and issued on the same day, Nkurikiye said.
He said these young women and boy were going to Oman. They would pass through Tanzania and Kenya before reaching their final destination.
Nkurikiye affirms the police control the movement of Burundians who go to these Arab countries. He calls on young people avoid being manipulated by human traffickers.
Despite the arrests made by the police, human trafficking is still rife in the country. Over the past few days, other girls have been intercepted when going to Persian Gulf.
Jacques Nshimirimana, Chairman of the Burundi National Federation of Child Rights Organization (FENADEB), says human trafficking has been observed in Burundi since 2006. The situation escalated in 2015. “Human traffickers took advantage of the political and economic crisis that was hitting the country, “says Nshimirimana. He said that since 2016, the government of Burundi has taken the matter in hand. The victims’ cases have significantly decreased. “Burundian police have dismantled the networks of traffickers who were unfortunately not tried,” says the chairman of FENADEB.
Despite the efforts made by the government, he said that in 2017, FENADEB recorded over 200 victims of human trafficking throughout the country. He added that victims used to pass through neighboring countries namely Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. “The most targeted people are young girls and women in childbearing age,” says Nshimirimana.
Fighting against human trafficking requires a commitment from all actors in the country, says Nshimirimana. He alludes to the government, civil society organizations and parliamentarians. He says the police alone cannot successfully fight human trafficking. «Human trafficking is a well-organized crime that requires the intervention of each and everyone,” he says.
FENADEB asks the government to set up a technical commission in charge of monitoring cases of human trafficking in Burundi, as provided for in the Act of 27 October 2014 on preventing and combating human trafficking and protecting its victims in Burundi.