The high rate of trafficking in persons has been attributed to porous borders used as transit routes through which victims are taken through, a situation that is negatively affecting income levels in the area.
Local leaders from the border districts of Busia and Tororo say that perpetrators of the crime earn a lot of money through Kenya leading to loss of revenue to the national coffers.
According to the local leaders, the victims of trafficking end up being employed as bar attendants, prostitutes, house maids as well as farm workers while others are taken through Kenya to acquire jobs in the Middle East.
“Being a boarder district, you cannot identify that a person is being trafficked because it is a culture here for people to cross from one side to another,” said Mr Geoffrey Kawo, a local leader in Busia Municipal Council.
Mr Kawo lamented that trafficking has led to loss of productive labour in the border areas which has reduced productivity because most of the villages are currently occupied by the elderly thereby reducing agricultural activities.
The local leaders made the remarks while receiving manuals on how to handle and track human trafficking in their respective areas.
Labour rights organisation, Platform for Labour Action (PLA) with partners developed the manual to help local leaders to curb the vice at border points.
PLA lawyer, Ms Elina Kawalya, describes Busia and Tororo districts as most active entry and exit points where cases of trafficking in persons take place.
“People go through Malaba border in disguise of selling merchandise and visiting relatives in Kenya from where they fly to other parts of the world using forged documents,” she said, adding that traffickers mostly target youth and women who are vulnerable.
She said that victims of trafficking are lured into drug trafficking, terrorism acts, sexual activities and others have their body organs sold to other people.
“Trafficking is a lucrative business and a syndicate job where various people including transporters, recruiters, harbourers as well as high profile people take part,” she said.
According to Ms Kawalya, trafficking in persons has a ready market and that people are yearning to get jobs outside the country citing high payment.
A 2016 report on the trend of trafficking in persons in Uganda by the Internal Affairs ministry indicates that means of recruitment of victims by the trafficking agents were varied including deception, fraud, use of forged immigration documents, debt bondage and abuse of position of vulnerability.