Trafficking women for sexual slavery has become the second world ‘lucrative crimes’ after drug trafficking and arms deals with the highest number of women reported to come from Uganda.
Uganda is a source and destination country for commercial sexual exploitation. Young girls and women are lured into sex trafficking within East Africa, Europe and Asian countries. Uganda still falls short of its International obligation to protect her citizens against sexual offences and human trafficking, despite the state effort to combat this vice on the legislative front.
The major contributing factor to the influx of the youth and women into the overseas countries is due to the limited jobs in the country and the poor quality of the available jobs. Unless government scales up provision of quality jobs and institutes checks and balances on the recruitment companies, most Ugandans will use any means within their reach to find “lucrative jobs” which will still turn out to be a problem.
Despite the existence of the Ministry of Internal Affairs responsible for issuing of the travel documents and the ministry of Foreign Affairs in those mentioned countries, the police and the Ministry don’t have exact figures of Ugandans that have been trafficked out of the country and are being held in servitude in foreign countries.
Report of the outstanding committee of parliament on equal opportunities on a working visit to Dubai, India and China 9th/-23rd December 2012 indicates that a recruitment company is paid 2000USD, but the individuals they recruit are paid peanuts of about 200USD.The committee identified that many Ugandan women are stranded and are being used as sex slaves. Many of them living with HIV/AIDs and in poor living conditions among others. The committees consequently made many recommendations to the government, but 6 years down the road, the Ugandan government has only been able to repatriate about 20 Ugandan women.
A list of recommendations and findings were made and among them are; government should streamline the employment procedures between recruitment agencies and Ugandans abroad for employment opportunities, government should set up rehabilitation centers for the victims of trafficking, government carries out an investigation into the allegations that there are people funding state houses for economic gain in promotion of human trafficking, prostitution and sexual slavery. However, Ugandans are worried that none of these seem to have been implemented by the government and if any, let there be evidence produced.
While the government and other development partners in Uganda are doing great work to enhance the livelihoods of women and youth, there is great concerned about the unanswered questions surrounding the debacle facing youth and women who go for overseas employment. Whereas the government has taken significant steps to avert this labour challenge, there is worry that there could be non-state and non-state actors who are still trafficking people to overseas countries.
There is also a great concern among Ugandans about the current labour and employment challenges facing women and youth overseas, there is also a concern about the labour situation domestically. Much as Ugandans do acknowledge that there are laws and policies that regulate and govern issues of employment and labour, human rights and justice among others, there is a concern that none of them seems to tackle specifically issues of foreign labour exploitation which issue has become an epidemic to those who go out of the country.
What is questionable is that how possible is it that a country that has Interpol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Internal Affairs (immigration Department) which are the institutions meant to work closely with the Ministry of Gender, labour and Social Development to ascertain the authenticity of the jobs and travel documents of the people leaving the country cannot establish the reality. Ugandans are also wondering how the recruitment companies are able to get passport for their clients without the clients presenting themselves to the immigration authorities. There is also a question on how the Interpol gives certificates of no criminal records to these people recruited without conducting proper investigation and due diligence into the matter. There is a belief that there could be internal dealing within the key institutions involved and if these kind of occurrences’ continue,Uganda is not a safe place from terrorists attacks since this style of doing things not only jeopardized the security of the country, but also put the life of many Ugandans at stake.