News / Africa

Trafficking of Ugandan Women to Asia on the Rise

Multimedia

Audio
Douglas Mpuga

An international agency has expressed concern about the increased trafficking of Ugandan women to Asia.  The International Organization of Migration (IOM) says victims of trafficking whom IOM has helped to return to Uganda have reported being subjected to sexual slavery, rape and torture.

Ugandan sources suggest there may be as many as 600 trafficked Ugandan women currently in Malaysia, with between 10 and 20 more arriving each week.

Initially IOM had anecdotal information, said Zafarullah Hassim, the Trafficking-in-People communication specialist at the iom in Uganda.

“There were no studies but ad hoc indicators,” he said.  But the raids in Malaysia at the end of 2011 led the IOM to take another look at the issue, and that’s when the Uganda consul in Malaysia came out and said there were 600 Ugandan women there and another 60 in jail – arrested by the Malaysia’s G-7 unit.

Hassim said he wasn’t sure why Malaysia was the preferred destination of the traffickers, but added, “We have brought 14 women back from Malaysia, but some of them had gone through China and Thailand before arriving in Malaysia.”

“I think one of the reasons is job and study opportunities that are abundantly available in Malaysia. The traffickers are utilizing that opportunity because many of the women are taken under the guise of a job or [as] a student.”

The trafficking is done by “respectable people” in Uganda who are targeting good-looking, young girls, said Hassim, citing stories the IOM gets from the clients the organization brings back.

“They target girls between the age of 17 and 22 years. They hunt at universities, and hair salons,” he said, again quoting the girls who have come back.

He said that according to these girls, even in Malaysia there are houses owned by Ugandans where they keep these women before they are taken to Nigerian clients living in Malaysia, China, or Thailand.

In 2009, the government of Uganda enacted the Uganda Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act.

But, Hassim said, nothing much has been done to implement this act. Even the US government’s 2011 report on worldwide human trafficking mentions ten agencies in Uganda suspected of involvement in human trafficking. “None of these [organizations] were investigated; no prosecutions. Even the government has re-issued a license to one of these agencies”

As a result of the IOM raising this issue, he said, the Speaker of Uganda’s parliament, has requested the minister of Youth Affairs to reintroduce in parliament the issue of human trafficking.

Hassim, however, admitted that the [human trafficking] issue is a complicated one. “People are very organized with connections here in [Uganda], China, Thailand and Malaysia. They train traffickers to tell lies in transit and as they enter each country. They also have proper passports and visas.”

He called on the Uganda government to help educate the general public on how to differentiate between a genuine working and study opportunity and the tricks of these traffickers.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs