By Mark Kawalya
The Ugandan government has launched an online database for reporting and exchanging information on cases of human trafficking. The database was unveiled at the Kabira Country Club as International Day against Trafficking in Persons was being observed. Commemorating the day raises awareness about human trafficking. This year’s theme, “Reach Every Victim of Trafficking, Leave No One Behind,” underlined the focus of the event.
Gabriel Khaukha, one of the developers of the database, explained that the database serves as a comprehensive platform for reporting human trafficking cases, following up on existing cases and maintaining a comprehensive record of both victims and perpetrators. Khaukha, a member of the team at Datatrack Solutions, added that police can access the database and enter details of suspected human traffickers, starting the process of prosecution by the Directorate of Public Prosecution.
The database will be managed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and will initially be deployed across 15 border districts that have high incidents of underreported human trafficking cases. Lt. Gen. Joseph Musanyufu, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, says that Uganda shares a 2698-kilometer border with five distinct nations, yet the immigration office only oversees 67 entry points. Musanyufu explains that his creates a conduit that allows human traffickers to exploit different open borders, necessitating the issue to be addressed.
The 2022 Police Annual Crimes Report recorded a total of 668 human trafficking cases, an increase from the 362 cases that were reported in the previous year. Commissioner of Police Julius Twinomujuni, who coordinates the prevention of trafficking in persons at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, says that more than 60 percent of trafficking victims are women, girls, and youth.
Twinomujuni said that many of these victims are frequently enticed with promises of job opportunities, scholarships and marriage promises. Tragically, they are trafficked into forced domestic labor and unwanted sexual exploitation. Twinomujuni acknowledged the ongoing efforts to prevent and rescue trafficking victims, although he decried the inadequate availability of shelters for victim rehabilitation and their economic empowerment, factors that could counter re-victimization.