By Innocent Anguyo
Since 2011, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has extended assistance to 179 Karimojong children who were trafficked to Kampala by unscrupulous people.
Such assistance includes screening, family tracing, shelter, counseling, education and return to Karamoja.
Gerard Waite, the IOM Chief of Mission made the announcement during a stakeholders conference on trafficking in persons in Uganda held in Kampala.
When IOM supports Karimojong children to return to their communities, it provides comprehensive integration assistance to the child as well as livelihood support to the family and community to prevent re-trafficking.
Since 2011, the organisation has also provided return assistance to over 52 Ugandans trafficked abroad. Most victims assisted by IOM Uganda are trafficked to Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, China, Iraq and India. Most victims assisted by IOM Uganda are recruited for sexual exploitation and 25% for labour exploitation.
Priscilla Nyarugoye, Senior Human Rights Officer at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) urged national and international stakeholders engaged in the fight against human trafficking to undertake a coordinated, transparent and rapid response to the vice and address the root causes by improving the socio-economic condition in vulnerable communities.
Human Trafficking in Uganda
Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person for the purpose of exploitation.
Moses Binoga, the Coordinator of the Counter Human Trafficking National Task Force at the ministry of internal affairs said Uganda mainly serves as a source and destination point for victims of trafficking in persons, at the internal and transnational levels. The country has also been a transit point for a few registered transnational victims.
Uganda, Binoga noted has registered high numbers of suspected victims since 2010 with the highest figure recorded in 2013.
In 2013, a total of 837 victims of trafficking (including suspected victims) were registered, out of which 429 were victims of transnational trafficking while 408 were trafficked internally.
The forms of exploitation registered in Uganda include Sexual exploitation; Labor exploitation; use of persons, including children, in illegal activities; human sacrifice; child marriage; removal of body organs for sale; harmful child labor and practices similar to slavery.
The illegal activities in which victims of human trafficking were subsequently used included rebel/terrorist activities, drug trafficking, street begging, pornography, prostitution and petty thefts.
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IOM helps 179 trafficked Karimojong children