Kampala -Barely a fortnight into the 42-day lockdown, the government of Uganda has revoked licences of eight labour export companies on allegations of human trafficking.
Internal Affairs ministry revealed that Middle East Consultants located at Tank Hill road in Muyenga, Rider Uganda Ltd located in Bukoto, Al-Said Agency Ltd based in Kibuye along Salama road and Eagle Supervision Ltd situated at Mengo, Forbes Enterprises Ltd based in Kiwatule, Top Notch Recruitment Services, Fly International Jobs and Sahara Recruitment Agency Ltd based in Lubaga are no longer permitted to export labour.
Agnes Igoye, coordinator of anti-human trafficking at the ministry of Internal Affairs says the eight companies have had several complaints lodged against them by victims or relatives of victims who were suffering in foreign countries.
Igoye said they were able to assess complaints levied against the companies with the help of among other ministries Gender, Foreign Affairs and security agencies such as External Security Organisation (ESO) and Internal Security Organisation – ISO and the Immigration department.
She said the banned companies have numerous cases of forgeries, human rights violations, smuggling and suffering of Ugandans taken to serve as domestic workers in countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman and UAE.
CID director, AIGP Grace Akullo, in her 2020 crime report indicates that 482 people were victims of transnational trafficking. Of these, Dubai was the leading destination with 257 victims while Kenya and Oman came second and third with 165 and 39 victims respectively.
“Labour remains the biggest form of exploitation for trafficking in persons. This is driven by the large population of unemployed youth and the increased demand for cheap labour in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Jordan among others,” Akullo states.
Igoye has urged Ugandans to report any person who will approach them claiming to be a recruiter from the banned companies. Cases of human trafficking were high after last year’s Covid-19 lockdown. There is fear that such incidents could skyrocket again once the current lockdown is lifted.
President Yoweri Museveni on June 18 announced a second lockdown after Uganda registered a surge in new cases of Covid-19 which has also proved to be more lethal.
The 42-day lockdown ends on July 29 but Uganda has been placed on the travel red list of several countries including Dubai, UK due to a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths. On June 26, Uganda registered 512 recoveries, 53 new Covid-19 deaths, and 695 new cases.