Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security personnel attached to the Aviation Police at Entebbe International Airport have so far intercepted 15 victims of human trafficking destined for Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Oman in the last week.
A report brief to police headquarters and the Ministry of Internal Affairs Anti-human trafficking department shows that the victims who include 14 young girls and one male adult were being trafficked on a visitation visa.
Security personnel were deployed at Entebbe Airport and other cross-border points in a bid to reduce cases of human trafficking that have been on the rise. They are also tasked with ensuring no drugs are sneaked into or out of the country.
Fred Enanga, the Police Spokesperson said the victims were intercepted at 9pm. Enanga said the victims who are currently in the hands of Aviation Police as it searches for groups that were behind the scheme, had been booked on Fly Dubai and Uganda Airlines flights.
“They were intercepted with the help of sister security agencies. They were being sneaked out of the country. They had been checked in on Fly Dubai and Uganda Airlines destined to Dubai and Oman on visit visas. They had not been cleared by the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development,” Enanga said.
The security agencies became suspicious after learning all the victims were leaving on visit visas. Upon interrogation, the groups gave contradicting accounts on which people they were going to see and for how long since they had no return tickets.
Those in Aviation Police custody include Namubiru Sandra, Nabirye Fazirah, Nakitto Maria, Namubiru Monique Saku, Babirye Molly Muwawu, Nakazzi Aisha, Nakijjoba Christine, Kazibwe Edward, Nakirya Hadija, Nandi Mercy, Naiga Oliver, Atuhaire Pamela, Nabakooza Stella, and Afoyocan Immaculate.
Agnes Igoye, the Deputy Coordinator Anti-Human Trafficking Department in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said some unscrupulous labor export companies withhold passports for the women and men desperate for jobs. The women and men who are mostly in their early 20s often sneaked out of the country without clear destinations and job descriptions.
Igoye cites Sip Contours as one of the companies that withhold the passports of the girls.
Igoye warns that withholding someone’s passport is criminal because that document belongs to the government and is supposed to be in hands of authorized persons.
The Immigration Directorate says on average, 30 Ugandans return every day after their contracts have ended in Dubai, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and other countries.
The annual crime report of 2020 shows there was an increase in cases of human trafficking. The statistics show that 666 people were trafficked compared to 455 in 2019. Police indicated that 497 of the victims were of transnational trafficking.
Enanga and Igoye have warned all groups involved in the trafficking of human beings to desist from the vice because they have stringent measures by which they will be grabbed.
People seeking abroad employment have been advised to always seek guidance from the ministry of gender, labor, and social development which authorized labor exporters.