Hotelier held for human trafficking

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One of the victims in the human traffiking racket speaks to the media yesterday. Left is Police spokesperson Badege The New Times/ John Mbanda.

The Rwanda National Police is holding a 46-year-old Ugandan national in connection with human trafficking.

The suspect, being held at Remera police station, is said to be a member of a trafficking racket in Kigali.

He is accused of luring Rwandan women, transporting them to western Uganda, and using  them as sex slaves.

The man was paraded before journalists in Kigali yesterday.

The suspect is said to be the owner of a hotel in Bushenyi District where Rwandan women were found working as prostitutes.

Police said two women were rescued from the suspect’s hotel in Bushenyi.

One of the victims, a 26-year-old  woman said she was lured to Uganda with promises of employment at the hotel.

“He promises to employ you in his hotel and when you get there, you’re given a room where men find you every evening for sex and then they pay him,” she said.

According to the victim, the suspect regards Rwandan women as ‘flowers’ that attract customers to his hotel.

The woman speaking with her face covered with a veil explained that though she was taken as a hotel employee she ended up as a sex slave with no knowledge of how much her boss was being paid.

Another 22-year-old victim said she met her trafficker in Nyabugogo bus park. He asked her for directions to the nearest sauna after which they exchanged phone numbers.

He later called her and agreed to meet at Alpha palace Hotel, where he promised her a job in a hotel with a salary of Sh120,000 (about Rwf30,000).

She accepted and they travelled to Bushenyi.

Upon arrival, she said, he demanded for sex.

“He raped me and refused to use a condom. He warned me that he would slash my salary if I refused,” she said.

The light-skinned woman narrated that since then her boss would bring other men to have sex with her.

The boss eventually paid her Shs20,000 (about Rwf7000) for the two weeks she spent there.

They were rescued two weeks ago after a joint operation by Rwanda and Uganda police.

However, the suspect denied the allegations.

Sharply dressed and speaking with confidence, the suspect said he was shocked at being arrested. He said he was in Rwanda to seal a business deal for supply of Friesian cattle to the ministry of agriculture.

“I don’t know why I was arrested. I have been selling cattle for over fifteen years and I have never got involved in human trafficking,” he said speaking from Kacyiru police headquarters.

Meanwhile, police also paraded a resident of Kanombe who is accused of owning a brothel where young girls are taken for commercial sex work.

Police speaks out

The police spokesperson ACP Theos Badege urged parents to monitor movement of their children, noting that though the issue of human trafficking was not common in the country it could escalate if not prevented.

He said it was an international crime that needs collaborative efforts with other countries to halt it.

“We work closely with our counterparts in neighboring countries by sharing information that’s why such people are arrested,” he said.

He said another Rwandan national , who had been trafficked was deported back from Malaysia recently.China is the other destination country for victims of human trafficking, he said.

The suspects files would be taken to prosecution today.
Six Rwandan girls were last month also rescued from Bushenyi, Uganda.

The victims were rescued after police raided a brothel called Safe Way in the western Uganda district during an operation, code named Usalama, which was simultaneously conducted in member countries of the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation (EAPPCO) and the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation (SARPCCO).

If found guilty, the suspects are liable to a 10-year prison sentence.

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