Monday March 10 2014

Strengthen institutions to end human trafficking

By Freddie K.Kiapi

The Daily Monitor article, “Finance Commissioner remanded over aggravated human trafficking” (March 6) that reported the abduction of a 16-year-old girl who was allegedly lured by the suspect with promises of going to school and meeting her school fees needs, is an eye opener to the institutions charged with the responsibility of making sure the law against human trafficking is implemented.

Human trafficking in all forms demeans the victims and causes long-term trauma and anxiety. So, the case involving the Finance commissioner should be used as a benchmark by all stakeholders to fight the vice. Many country’s do report that many young people aged between 13-35 years are trafficked within and outside their countries either as sex slaves or labourers. The highest number from Uganda are destined to Asia and the Middle East but they end up crying foul play by the agencies that send them or the host employers.

In the last three years, it has been reported that more than 6,000 Ugandans are trafficked annually to countries around the world. Statistics show that 75-80 per cent of humans are trafficked for sex, increasing possibility of high chances of spreading HIV/Aids.

Around 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture, and neglect. More than 50 per cent of human trafficking victims are children and human trafficking is estimated to surpass the drug trade worldwide.

This vice needs to be tackled from a poverty and human rights-based approach in addition to strengthening the institutions charged with addressing the problem such as the police and Judiciary. Besides ensuring that the law against human trafficking is widely publicised, East African member states should also be facilitated in terms of resources - both capital and human - to fight the vice at national level.

This should be complemented by making sure the existing legislation in each member country is compliant to the international and regional legal instruments.

I appeal to all stakeholders to intensify the fight and weed human trafficking out of our society through various means that can enhance human dignity and provide psychosocial support in addition to behavioural change and capacity building.