Human trafficking is a form of gender based violence – activists

By Desire Mbabaali

As government continues to express concern over the surging number of Ugandans, especially girls trafficked to the Middle East, activists have described the practice as another form of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the region.

During their meeting in collaboration with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region – Regional Training Facility (ICGLR -RTF) on update of SGBV in reference to special courts, Ms Mercy Grace Muduru the programmes manager at FIDA Uganda attributed to Uganda’s economic environment.

“People are looking for the next employment and so they are easily duped into these processes of trafficking. Girls are taken to Middle East, children are moved from Karamoja to Kampala for child labour and prostitution all in a bid to make a living,” she said.

She added that the refugee situation in the country has further accelerated the SGBVs since it increases the number of vulnerable people making them susceptible to being lured into these serious human rights violation situations.

At the event attended by the High Court judge, Damalie Lwanga, Ms Fidensia Charles Ladu, the commissioner of South Sudan Human Rights Commission and Mr George Kegoro, the Executive Director Kenya Human Rights Commission among other dignitaries in Kampala over the weekend, most speakers put more emphasis on tracing progress made by ICGLR member states in creating special courts to handle SGBV cases.

“In 2011, all ICGLR member states passed the ‘Kampala Declaration’ on sexual violence after realizing it as a major issue in the region. This declaration included 19 resolutions to be implemented. One of these was resolution eight which was to establish special courts, and procedures on cases of sexual violence but also made a commitment to do this within 12 months after the declaration,” Mr Nathan Mwesigye Byamukama the director of ICGLR-RTF, explained.

This comes just hours after Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that a total of 154 Ugandans have been deported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after protracted negotiations by the Ugandan embassy in Abu Dhabi.

There are more than 30,000 Ugandans working and living in the UAE, minus those staying there illegally.

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