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Christine Sabiyumva

Burundi , Class of 2010

Christine Sabiyumva

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The first woman to become an army officer in Burundi, Ms. Sabiyumva has taken a stand against the sexual exploitation of children.

Christine Sabiyumva is the commander of the National Police Women and Children’s Brigade. She personally has sought out traffickers and their victims, especially when the victims are children. In 2008 and 2009, she took on a ring of traffickers who had fraudulently convinced 17 young women to neighboring countries, where they had been sexually exploited. She has prosecuted offenders, helped victims, spread awareness about this issue, and this is all despite a lack of resources for her department to conduct this type of work. In 2010, she was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of her work. After winning the award, she traveled around the country conducting trainings and awareness seminars with law enforcement around Burundi. Since then, she has continued to work on trafficking issues, and her budget has expanded to allow her to do more to help survivors as well as prosecute traffickers. In fact, the president of Burundi has addressed this issue, vocally, in 2014.

In the 2014 TIP Report, Burundi was listed on the Tier 2 Watch List. It is only a source country, for victims of both forced labor and sex trafficking. Certain mining areas and farming areas are hotbeds for forced labor. Sex trafficking is still a significant problem. Girls who are domestic servants are often sexually abused, and sometimes forced into prostitution. Significant trafficking rings still force underage women into prostitution internally, and internationally. The government has a written plan that would address many issues, but struggles to implement it.   

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