The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has called on Government to step up efforts to curb trafficking of persons within and out of the country, especially those seeking employment opportunities.
Kadaga said that there is a gap in response to victims of trafficking, which has caused deficiency in combating the vice that remains etched within systems in the country.
“That is why Government needs to urgently follow up on signed protocols that act against trafficking in persons. Parliament has played its role in enacting laws and Government needs to implement them,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga was speaking at the 10 year anniversary of passing of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009 held at Kampala Serena Hotel on Wednesday, 23 October 2019. The event was attended by Members of Parliament, law enforcement officials and the civil society.
She noted the gullibility of many desperate Ugandans seeking jobs outside the country and tasked immigration officials to crack the whip on unscrupulous agencies that may take advantage of them.
“These days, adverts for people to work abroad are plastered on electricity poles and all-over walls within the city, and desperate Ugandans end up calling these companies who many a time, end up selling them off to companies or individuals abroad. This must stop!” said Kadaga.
She advised law enforcement agencies to sensitize the public to be cautious of unclear companies that could try to convince them to pay money to get jobs out of the country, adding that culprits of trafficking must be punished, and rehabilitation opportunities provided for the victims.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Justice Mike Chibita, said that the key to curbing trafficking in persons was in apprehending the traffickers, adding that there was a need for manpower to ably execute the task.
“Trafficking is a covert crime that makes it difficult to investigate, thus we need specialized training and designation of focal point persons. We plan to elevate the trafficking desk at the DPP to a full department, which will lead better prosecution of human traffickers,” Chibita said.
He also recommended that Parliament ought to ratify the Panama Protocol so that Uganda can become an active participant in the fight against trafficking of persons on the international scene.
The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009 took effect on 23 October, 2009.