Every year, the U.S. Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons highlights the efforts of individuals from all over the world who work tirelessly to ensure that every person, no matter one's nation of origin or standing in society, is able to pursue a life of freedom. In the days leading up to the release of the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, DipNote will share their stories.About the Author: Talley Sergent is a Public Affairs Officer in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Christine Sabiyumva is a pioneer in Burundi as one of the first women to become an army officer. As commander of the National Police's Women and Children's Brigade, Mrs. Sabiyumva is well known on the streets of Bujumbura, where she personally searches for human traffickers and children in prostitution. In 2008 and 2009, Ms. Sabiyumva broke a human trafficking ring in which businessmen and women lured 17 young victims across borders to Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda for sexual exploitation. She continues her work with dedication and determination despite the lack of technical support and human resources available to her, such as dedicated vehicles or communications equipment. Mrs. Sabiyumva has taken the lead role in reducing trafficking in Bujumbura through investigations, protection, and public awareness campaigns. She is currently traveling across Burundi -- with the support of international donors -- to sensitize local officials to the danger of human trafficking and to raise awareness among local populations about the different types of human trafficking and gender-based violence prevalent within the country.