TOP
Tuesday,September 17,2019 05:11 AM
  • Home
  • National
  • Judiciary wants specialised courts for human trafficking

Judiciary wants specialised courts for human trafficking

By Maria Wamala

Added 22nd March 2018 09:23 AM

During a two-day human trafficking training of judicial officials, Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita said most judicial officers are ignorant about the nature of the crime and the Prevention of Trafficking in Person Act.

Traffickinginpersonmkkk 703x422

During a two-day human trafficking training of judicial officials, Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita said most judicial officers are ignorant about the nature of the crime and the Prevention of Trafficking in Person Act.

PIC: The anti-trafficking in persons trainees raise their certificates after the training at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel on March 16, 2018. (Credit: Maria Wamala)

TRAINING


KAMPALA - The Judiciary has called on the Government to establish specialised courts for human trafficking and sex cases, saying they are special and need expertise.

During a two-day human trafficking training of judicial officials, Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita said most judicial officers are ignorant about the nature of the crime and the Prevention of Trafficking in Person Act.

The DPP said this has resulted in some prosecutors grading human trafficking crimes under the Children’s Act and the Penal Code.

According to Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko, the specialised courts will deal with the huge backlog of trafficking and sex cases.

“The cases may easily get mixed up in other cases, yet they are special cases, specialised courts will give them the priority they deserve,” she said.

Justice David Batemwa said human trafficking and sex crimes are special in nature, so they need special funding and expertise.

“The priority is the safety and protection of the victim. Ensuring safety and confidentiality in our courts is still wanting,” he said.

Co-ordinator for trafficking Moses Binoga said in 2017, about 335 cases of human trafficking were recorded, adding that this could only be the tip of the iceberg. He attributed this to victims’ fear to come to court because they are traumatized and have no confidence in the judicial system.

Judiciary tipped on handling traumatised victims
During a training facilitated by Pepperdine University Human Trafficking Institute and Willow International, a non-governmental organisation that provides safe houses to human trafficking victims, trainers emphasised having trauma-informed court personnel.

Judge Antonaitte Moore from California Supreme Court said: “To get the whole truth from victims, all court personnel need to be tremor-informed. This will help in identifying trauma in the victims and handling them accordingly.”

Moore added that court personnel need to be patient, respectful and courteous to victim.

“If you notice that the victim has swollen and red eyes, is crying, is whispering, know he could be traumatised, not confident and will need more time and understanding to tell you the truth. Pause the trial, offer them a glass of water, talk to them and give them time and the resources needed to support them,” she said.

Moore also encouraged the judges to speak gently to them victims.

Judge Stacey Eurie from California Supreme Court told judicial officers to always be consistent, saying that traumatised victims and children need consistence to gain confidence and trust.

“Consistent courtroom personnel are crucial so that victims do not have to retell their story, they do not have to be vulnerable in a new way. From the start, they need the same judge, deputy judge, state attorney, defence attorney, and prosecutor,” Eurie.
Eurie added: “Courtrooms need to be arranged in a manner that the victims do not interface with their traffickers as seeing them not only intimidates them, but also reminds them of their experience and brings back the pain trauma.”

At the end of the training, officers were issued with certificates and the chairperson judicial training committee, Stella Arach, urged them to change their attitude toward the people they handle in court.

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles