Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Three Ugandans who had been convicted of human trafficking have been pardoned by the King of Thailand, His Majesty Maha Vajiralongkorn, as part of his generosity act to mark his 69th birthday. He has also given them air tickets to return home.
According to Agnes Igoye, the deputy coordinator for prevention of trafficking in persons at Ministry of Internal Affairs-MIA, they received a communication via the Ugandan Embassy in Bangkok that Mary Nagawa, Rosemary Nabwire and Belinda Namuli had been pardoned after serving only 4 out of the 14 years’ jail term.
The trio were arrested early 2017 with people they had trafficked from countries in Africa including Uganda. The court found Nagawa, Nabwire and Namuli guilty and they were accordingly sentenced to 14 years in jail.
Maha, who has reigned on the throne for just over two years, has made it a routine to pardon some convicts every time he is celebrating his birthday.
Igoye says the king directed the corrections department of Thailand to work on their document and have been handed over to Uganda Embassy with fully paid for air tickets.
“One of them (Nagawa) has already landed aboard Ethiopian Airlines, we have her at our immigration department,” Igoye said. “Immigration is now waiting for the remaining two to arrive so that they can be handled accordingly.”
The prevention of trafficking in persons Act defines a human trafficker as a person who recruits, transports, transfers, harbours or receives a person, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
Igoye said the trio will not be subjected to any other trial in Uganda since the offences will be more or less the same.
“The three will not be convicted for the same crime,” Igoye said. “We hope that they will start their lives in a good way.”
However, she warned the forgiven women that they should know that Section 8 of the prevention of trafficking in persons Act provides for stricter sentence if a person is arrested, charged over the same offences.”
Being convicted on trafficking in persons has huge and everlasting implications on a person’s life. In case such a person applies for a job, he or she must always disclose that he was once a culprit of trafficking in persons.