Closure  of Schools fueling Human trafficking- external recruitment agencies

courtesy photo

The Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies -UAERA wants the government to prioritize reopening of their training centers saying that the closure of these orientation centers is fueling outbound human trafficking in the country.

The revised law over the recruitment of Ugandan Migrant workers, Regulations, 2021, requires that labour externalization companies take their clients through a two weeks orientation training before qualifying them for work.

The law introduced a pre-departure orientation training to migrant workers and bans the charging of migrant workers’ unauthorized fees. 

The penalty for breaking any of these regulations was also increased from three months to five years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding one thousand currency points (20million Uganda shillings) or serving both.

Ronnie Rukundo, the communications manager of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies -UAERA said due to the lockdown that led to the closure of schools did not exclude their orientation training centers hence affecting their services.

He said currently they cannot recruit domestic workers as they have no capacity to train them as it is required by the law hence favoring the human traffickers. 

Rukundo explained that the companies are currently only dealing with the people who had gone through the fully required process by June 2021, before the closure.

Esther Nabaki, from Bantu Establishment in Bugolobi said they are having a huge turn up for registration especially ladies but they cannot proceed with the processing due to the gap created by the closure of the orientation training centers.

Nabaki said they had over 200 girls who had registered in three weeks after the closure; however, a good number of these 200 have quietly picked their passports claiming they have got people to help them out.

‘’We know that currently, all licensed recruitment agencies cannot clear any domestic migrant workers due to the closure of training centers, now who is taking these girls without following the right procedures?‘’ asked Nabaki.

The training requirements for migrant domestic workers were added to enable the girls going for such work to gain some knowledge about the behaviors and culture of the countries they are heading to.

Meanwhile, the deputy coordinator of the anti-trafficking department, ministry of internal Affairs, Agnes Igoye says the companies should stop lamenting and adjust to the new normal.

Igoye indicates that human trafficking cannot only be attributed to the closure of the orientation training centers, noting their several factors.

She explains that currently the major human trafficking in the country is internal with many people selling out their own children for wealth.

TheTrafficking in person report of 2020, estimates determined that traffickers are currently exploiting 7,000 to 12,000 children through sex trafficking in Uganda.

 The report also outlines how human trafficking in Uganda primarily takes the form of forced physical labor and sexual exploitation.

In September 2021, the Crime Intelligence Unit raided three homes in Kampala and rescued over 200 girls and women who were allegedly being trafficked to Arab countries.

Frank Mugabi, the spokesperson ministry of gender Labour and Social Development, the ministry that houses these companies says it is true these companies cannot recruit before the government reopens their training centers.  He advises them to keep waiting for the reopening.

Zainab Ssesanga, working with 2Niles Public Relations Agency in Nsambya, said many of the domestic workers who had registered with them are slowly picking their passport claiming they got other companies to process for their departure.

Ssesanga noted that the government needs to consider reopening their training centres in order to help out on the girls who are desperately looking for jobs hence ending up misled by the bad characters.

Uganda is still doing badly on employment opportunities and social welfare which has seen young people who are the majority looking for opportunities outside.

This has left many being exploited by human traffickers attracted with promises, especially the young girls who want to go for domestic works in the United Arab Emirates and other states.  

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