Human rights activists are bracing for a 29 km charity walk from Kampala to Entebbe to raise money and awareness against the rising problem of human trafficking.
The charity walk is scheduled for Saturday September 28, and is organized by Rahab Uganda, an organization which claims to cater for victims of human trafficking.
While addressing a news conference on the upcoming Charity walk, Dwelling Places Director Damon Wamara used the opportunity to appeal to the government to ratify a law passed three years ago by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) that is aimed at coordinating anti-human trafficking activities in the member countries.
EALA passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill, 2016 as the first step to curbing trafficking in persons at the regional level.
“Three years ago, the East African Parliament passed a legislation to end trafficking in persons at the East African level but until today, it has not been ratified…..it has not been assented to by all the Heads of States and we would want to see that such a law is approved, because it would help in fostering regional partnerships. It would help to solve so many issues the police in the different governments are struggling with, and how to work together to repatriate and re-integrate victims of trafficking,” Wamara added.
Wamara argues that ratifying the law would strengthen partnerships among relevant authorities and help to ensure co-ordinated operations to follow traffickers and rescue the victims wherever they may be.
Annette Kirabira, the Executive Director of Rahab Uganda further explained that the 29 Kilometre Kampala-Entebbe walk has been organized to create awareness about the dangers and effects of human trafficking.
She adds that because of the gruesome effects of the crime, the proceeds from the walk will go towards offering skills, paying medical bills and rehabilitation services to human trafficking victims at Rahab Uganda’s shelter.
“Generally victims of trafficking suffer from so many issues, including psychological and physical ill-health. Victims that have gone through sex-trafficking have their kind of infections, victims that have gone through labour trafficking have all kinds of other physical torture in their bodies,” Kirabira noted.
Despite the delays in ratifying the bill, the NGOs applauded the government for what they described as visible efforts to crack down on human traffickers, some of whom are registered labour recruitment agencies.
The anti-trafficking activists commend recent actions by the police to arrest and prosecute the bosses of Middle-East Consultants for their involvement in human trafficking.
“At least we are happy that this year alone, I think for the 1st time, we have seen company owners being arrested,” said Wamara.
Calling on individual and corporates to join the annual Charity Walk, Kirabira stressed the importance of partnerships and continued awareness creation to curb human trafficking.