More than 1,000 are victims of human trafficking in Burundi 

Despite the government’s crackdown, imposing strict measures to acquire travel documents, human trafficking in Burundi is still on a rise with most of the victims being trafficked to Asian countries. PHOTO|FILE.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed that over 1,000 victims of human trafficking have been identified and assisted in Burundi since 2017. 

In an article  published by the organization, Burundi like many other countries is not exempted from the grips of traffickers who prey on the vulnerability of victims, both within the country and abroad.

According to IOM both adults and children are coerced into forced labour, domestic servitude, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation throughout the region and globally.

The United States (US) Trafficking In Persons Report indicated that Burundian girls are trafficked internationally for commercial sexual exploitation in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and countries in the Middle East.

Women remained victims of human trafficking in Burundi as a local NGO that fights against transnational crime (OLCT) reported at least 527 girls and women were trafficked to Asian countries in 2017, and 2018 more than 250 girls and women were trafficked to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and UAE with 93 of them travelling to Qatar.

In Burundi, forced labour forms the majority of the cases in domestic work and childcare, agriculture, hospitality, construction, begging, and peddling according to the IOM. An estimated 66 per cent of the victims are women and girls, often for forced domestic labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage in neighbouring countries or the Gulf states. Burundian refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and those residing in border provinces are most at risk of human trafficking.

The IOM in its published article indicated that the Burundi government has significantly increased investigations and prosecutions of suspected trafficking offenses, convicted traffickers, and referred victims for assistance. The country has also institutionalized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judicial officials.

The article published by IOM comes as January is a United States of America National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month.


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