By Fred Kiva
More than 40 Ugandan women were on Wednesday rescued from a human trafficking racket.
According to a statement issued by Uganda Police, the rescued women were enroute to Asian countries of Brunei, Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam where they are used as slaves.
Quoting the head of the Thailand Anti Trafficking in Persons Task Force (TATIP), Lt Gen Jaruvat Vaisaya, the statement indicates that Ugandans were the majority in the rescue mission, describing it as one of the largest number of people rescued in recent years.
Lt Gen Vaisaya revealed that so far, seven Ugandan human trafficking victims have returned home, while others are currently at the immigration department International Detention Centre in Bangkok to assist police in investigations.
“I’ve been ordered to shutdown human trafficking into and through Thailand. The Prime Minister has made this a national agenda item and we intend to make sure the goal is achieved. There will be no more using Thailand for the terrible crime of trafficking people,” he said.
He explained that the women are promised good paying jobs to work in supermarkets and other segments of the Thailand service sector and given money before they are convinced to leave Uganda.
“Once they get to Thailand, they are told there is no job, the money they were given at home and any other money they have is taken away from them," he explained, adding “They are also told they have a debt to pay; sometimes this is up to $40,000 (Shs144 million) even before they do any work. How can they ever pay that?”
He also said different methods are used to have women speak. "If they cooperate we can finish our investigation and prosecutions faster, meaning they can go home sooner,” he is quoted as saying.
Lt. Gen. Vaisaya said they are investigating to see if foreigners caught in raids conducted searching for those illegally in the country are involved in human trafficking as either victims or traffickers.
The search for casual jobs abroad has continued to haunt job seeking Ugandans especially women who are trafficked to the Middle East Arab countries by unscrupulous agents to work as domestic servants.
These women have later been reportedly subjected to inhuman treatment, including sexual abuse.
The Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development is trying to streamline procedures for employment abroad by liaising with labour exporting companies to ensure the job seekers’ rights are not violated at their work stations away from home.