Numerous reports indicate that majority of the victims of human trafficking do not choose to be but are forced by circumstances. Indeed, with the few exceptions of a women such as Shanitah Namuyimbwa a.k.a Bad Black who intentionally travel to Dubai and other Asian cities to engage in prostitution, majority leave our countries are innocent job seekers.
Thousands of young girls have indeed left Uganda in search of jobs in the Arab world, only to find themselves sold as slaves or sex slaves, or forced to run for dear life when the work load is simply unbearable.
The government of Uganda has an urgent duty to fulfil to ensure that the rights of her citizens are protected against any form of human trafficking, before, during and after they leave the country. From establishing formal mechanisms with destination countries, the government must put in place mechanisms to ensure that the employment terms imposed on our brothers and sisters, comply with internationally respected principles of human rights of workers. The stories we hear such as domestic workers being asked to work from 5am to Midnight and kept in old latrines, among other allegations, must be investigated and rejected.
Most importantly however, the challenge of addressing human trafficking must ultimately be addressed by reflecting on the causes of the vice.
We know too well that majority of the victims of human trafficking are youth, usually without jobs, even though many have attained education, often at a very high cost to their parents.
Fixing the education system by walking the talk of skills development, must therefore be emphasised. Many young people leave because they don’t have skills to enable them create gainful employment. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of both the government but also on the parents who must wake up to the realities that the current system is broken.
On the other hand, society must begin to inculcate some mindset changes especially among children and youth, to value the virtues of hard work, integrity and modesty.
A lot of young people have fallen victim to traffickers because they aspire to live larger than life lifestyles. Many want to build Bangalows after school and make weddings costing hundreds of millions of shillings.
In conclusion, while the traffickers continue to devise new strategies of trapping their prey, it is harder to pounce on an employed, hopeful and self-respecting individual.