Cablegate: Uganda: Trafficking in Persons Report 2008
DE RUEHKM #0351/01 0641103
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041103Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0073
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0025
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0057
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS KAMPALA 000351
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP-RYOUSEY, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, AF/RSA
PASS TO USAID
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB UG
SUBJECT: UGANDA: TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT 2008
REF: A. STATE 2731 B. KAMPALA 2730
1. (U) Embassy POC for Trafficking In Persons (TIP) issues is
Political/Economic Chief Kathleen FitzGibbon, Tel: 256-41-306-214,
Mobile: 256-772-220-030, Fax: 256-41-345-144. To prepare this
report, P/E Chief Kathleen FitzGibbon (FS-02) spent 30 hours and
political assistant Gracie Jaasi spent 15 hours.
2. (SBU) Following responses are keyed to reftel paras 27-30.
3. Overview of Uganda's activities to eliminate trafficking in
27A: Uganda is a country of origin, transit, and destination for
trafficked children and adults.
The major types of trafficking were children exploited for
commercial sex and forced labor. Commercial Sexual Exploitation of
Children (CSEC) occurs internally in Uganda and victims generally
move from rural villages to border towns and urban centers. The
most recent studies of trafficking and commercial sexual
exploitation of children were conducted in 2004 and 2006 by the
Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD) and the
International Labor Organization's International Programme on the
Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC). The 2004 report on CSEC
estimated that between 7,000-12,000 children in Uganda were sexually
exploited for commercial purposes. The study noted that 28 percent
of the children in the sample were assisted by a third party.
The recent ILO-IPEC Rapid Assessment Report on child trafficking in
2006 (released in 2007) noted an increase in cross-border
trafficking. Save the Children Uganda reported on child trafficking
from Karamoja in northeastern Uganda. Another NGO, OASIS, also
conducted research in Karamoja in 2006. All of the studies on
trafficking indicated that statistics that determine the scope and
magnitude of the problem were difficult to obtain. Instead, the
reports focused on trends in trafficking and recommended actions for
the government and non-governmental organizations. These studies
indicated that girls were at a higher risk of being trafficked than
boys. Trafficking in persons from Karamoja was tied to the
distortion of seasonal migration patterns and coping mechanism
insecurity resulting from an ongoing disarmament program.
Uganda's prosecution efforts took major steps forward in 2007. On
July 3, 2007, Uganda's 102 female parliamentarians introduced the
Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Bill on the floor of
Parliament. It was unanimously received on the foor. The bill
remained on a fast track and was one of the first pieces of
legislation to receive its first reading when Parliament reconvened
after the budgetary session in December 2007. The bill is currently
with the Defense and Internal Affairs Committee and will be reported
to the floor within 45 days. It is a private members' bill, but the
Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda strongly supports it.
His Ministry will house the interagency anti-trafficking department
when the bill passes. Immigration Department officials formed an
internal task force to address the problem of trafficking in
children by non-governmental organizations using court orders to
require immigration to give children passports. Police,
immigration, labor, and judicial officials assisted a U.S.
Department of Justice team in designing a training program that will
commence in 2008.
Lack of resources continues to hamper the Government's protection
efforts. Nonetheless, the Minister of Internal Affairs granted
permission for victims of an Asian trafficking ring to remain in
Uganda. The Ugandan Police Force (UPF) allowed a prominent
non-governmental organization to place its social workers in Central
Police Station and in stations in two other districts to assist
children and other trafficking victims. The UPF's Child and Family
Protection Unit continued training of police constables on child
rights, protection issues, and trafficking. Ugandan Government
officials continued to assist returning abductees from the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA). The Government, in conjunction with
non-governmental organizations, transferred Karamojong children from
Kampala to shelters in Karamoja.
27B: Children trafficked for sex or labor often were put into
situations of exploitation by their own families. For children
under 12 years of age, the traffickers used the consent of the
parents, sold on promises of a better life. In most situations, the
parents placed their children with an intermediary known to the
community. The intermediaries were mostly relatives, peers or
well-established individuals. In addition to family members, the
ILO's Rapid Assessment identified transporters, document forgers,
middlemen and women, corrupt border officials, and the childrens'
peers as involved in or benefiting from trafficking. Many children
are enticed into prostitution by their friends, who benefit
financially from recruiting others.
A relatively new trend discovered by police in 2006 was the
trafficking of Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese workers by importers.
In addition, the police found trafficking rings in which Indian
minors were forced into prostitution or pornography by Indian
Police also uncovered a few trafficking cases in which Ugandan
children were trafficked to Canada, Lesotho, Egypt, and United Arab
Emirates. The children or their families were offered better job
opportunities for their children. In the Egyptian case, the female
victims were university or high school graduates promised jobs in
2005 as accountants or business professionals. Instead, they were
forced into prostitution and other illicit activities. The sister
of one of the victims contacted the Ugandan Embassy in Cairo and the
victims were repatriated to Uganda. In the Canadian case, young
victims were enticed with job opportunities. In both cases, the
victims' travel documents were seized and they were held in
isolation at their destinations. In the UAE case, the victim was
trafficked for labor exploitation to Dubai. He is now 21-years old
and his family is demanding his repatriation from Dubai. However,
the prince who trafficked him--and is reportedly holding some 20
other African children in his household and those of his
families--has allegedly used UAE officials to block Ugandan efforts
to repatriate him. The prince reportedly seized his travel
documents. The victim had not been repatriated at year's end.
Immigration and Police officials highlighted an alleged new trend in
trafficking in Uganda involving the use of legal means to take
children out of Uganda for illicit purposes. A non-governmental
organization reportedly locates children and gains the agreement of
their families by telling them the children will get education or a
better life. An expatriate then comes into Uganda on a tourist visa
for a few weeks and gets a guardianship order through the courts,
usually with the permission of the family. The magistrates, at the
insistence of the "guardian," would require the passport office to
issue the child a passport. In one case involving two young boys
taken to South Africa, immigration learned that one had allegedly
died after his kidneys were harvested for a transplant. The Ugandan
Government discovered this after it ordered a post-mortem prior to
paying for the repatriation of the body. Immigration officials
formed a task force to examine the trend and make recommendations to
the Minister of Internal Affairs and Justice on ways to stop the
movement of children out of the country for illicit purposes through
Employment agencies have attracted increased government attention.
A number of security companies in Uganda--some U.S.
contractors--recruit Ugandans to serve as security guards for U.S.
facilities in Iraq. The Commissioner for Labor and parliament began
investigating some of these agencies for withholding travel
documents, withholding or deducting pay against the terms of the
contract, and other complaints raised by Ugandan guards.
27C: The Ministry of Internal Affairs, which oversees the Ugandan
Police Force, Immigration, and Criminal Investigation Division has
the lead on trafficking issues. Proposed new legislation will
create an office/department within the Ministry to prevent and
combat trafficking. The Ministry of Justice and the Directorate for
Public Prosecutions (DPP) prosecutes trafficking cases. The
Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development takes the lead on
labor and child trafficking cases. In northern Uganda, the
military, which still provides security in most of the region, is
the lead agency on assisting victims of LRA abductions. The
military still processes returning victims of the LRA.
During the reporting period, there were no abductions in northern
Uganda by the rebel organization Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in
northern Uganda. The LRA abductions had represented the majority of
trafficking victims in Uganda until peace talks began in July 2006.
UNICEF estimates that more than 20,000 children had been abducted
since the LRA began its insurgency in the mid-1980s. Currently,
defectors from the LRA report that there are only 800 LRA in Garamba
National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo, 300 of which may be
women and children. The LRA abductions occurred in the context of a
22-year war and were outside the government's full control.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued indictments for five
LRA leaders in October 2005 on charges that included sexual slavery.
The Ugandan military pushed the LRA out of northern Uganda and
southern Sudan in December 2005. As a result of military pressure,
the difficulties of maintaining large forces in DRC, and the ICC
indictments, the LRA agreed to peace talks with the Government in
July 2006. The talks are ongoing. On October 2, 2007, LRA leader
Joseph Kony killed his deputy, Vincent Otti, an ICC indictee. Only
three LRA indictees remain alive: Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic
Over the past year, the absence of LRA attacks and ongoing peace
process has resulted in relative peace in northern Uganda.
Approximately one-third of internally-displaced persons have
returned home, and hundreds of thousands are near home in transit
sites. The phenomenon known as "night commuting" has ended.
Thousands of children known as night commuters in northern Uganda
walked each night from internally displaced persons camps, cities,
and villages to the night commuter centers avoid LRA abduction. The
numbers of "night commuters" peaked in 2005 when approximately
23,500 of these children sought refuge in NGO-run shelters.
Children who continued to seek protection assistance in 2007 did so
for reasons other than fear of abduction, such as difficult home
situations or the desire to be in well-lit areas with other
27D: The Government's efforts and amnesty program have succeeded in
reducing the strength of the LRA in northern Uganda. The UPDF and
international NGOs are receiving and processing LRA defectors, most
of whom had been abductees. More generally, lack of government
resources has constrained the ability to provide adequate funds for
efforts on social issues. As a result, outside the rehabilitation
centers for LRA victims in northern Uganda, there are few resources
for victim protection. The Government relies on donor aid to feed
and provide minimal social services to hundreds of thousands of
displaced persons in northern Uganda. Forty-six percent of the
Ugandan national budget is provided by donors. Uganda has
successfully reduced its HIV/AIDS prevalence rate to 6.2 percent
from 18 percent, and sustaining this progress in combating the
disease remains a top priority for government and donor funds.
Inadequate resources and significant court backlogs also constrain
efforts of prosecutors and the judiciary to pursue convictions
against internal traffickers involved in child prostitution.
Corruption is a serious problem in government institutions in
Uganda. However, there is little indication that officials were
bribed or otherwise improperly influenced by traffickers. In 2006,
the Ugandan police dismissed over 300 police officers for
corruption, unrelated to trafficking.
On January 12, Mbarara police arrested three suspected traffickers
and rescued 11 children. The children from Rwanda, Burundi and the
Democratic Republic of Cong, were being taken to Australia, Canada
and the United States. District Police Commander Ivan Nkwasibwe
said the victims were between 15 and 21 years. The traffickers
appeared in Court on February 1. One of the suspects, a Rwandan
citizen, pleaded guilty. He was sentenced with a caution and
released. Another, a Burundian was charged with illegal entry into
Uganda. He was co-accused with a Ugandan woman of charges of
robbery. Both were remanded in jail. Police handed over the victims
to the UNHCR Regional office in Mbarara.
Ex-presidential aide Catherine Aisha Naava Nabagesera and her
accomplice Moses Nsubuga Ssempebwa appeared in court on February 20
and were charged with obtaining money by false pretense. The two
reportedly duped over 300 Ugandans that they would get them jobs
abroad through a company named Global Link. However, later none
went abroad yet they had paid money for their air tickets, visas,
passports, health verification certificates and police reports. The
money totaled over 58,497 USD (100,000 million shillings). The next
hearing of the case is on April 20. The trial of Nabagesera and
Ssempebwa began on August 6, 2006.
Ugandan judicial officers say the passage of a comprehensive
anti-trafficking law and expanded training in enforcing trafficking
crimes would boost their prosecution efforts.
There is political will at the highest levels of government to stop
trafficking in persons. The Minister of Internal Affairs worked
with Uganda's 102 female parliamentarians to make changes to the
draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. The Prevention of
Trafficking in Persons bill was introduced into parliament on July
3, 2006. It received its first reading on December 19, 2007, only
two weeks after parliament re-opened for regular business after the
budget session and the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting (CHOGM).
The bill is now with the Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs.
Government officials, including the Deputy Director for Public
Prosecution, participated in a Committee of Experts Meeting on
January 11 in preparation for the bill's first committee hearing.
The bill is expected to pass with little or no opposition within the
first session of parliament, which ends in July 2008. The Ugandan
Government, which now chairs the Commonwealth, raised
anti-trafficking issues as a priority for members at the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2007.
Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, currently the head of the
East African Police Chiefs Organization, also raised TIP as a
priority issue within the federation and co-hosted the U.N. Office
of Drugs and Crime conference on trafficking in Kampala in June
2007. Meanwhile, the media, including the Government newspaper,
have conducted investigations and are reporting more on trafficking
27E: The Government systematically monitors anti-trafficking efforts
in the northern conflict as it processes former abductees among LRA
defectors. The military's Child Protection Unit in Gulu is the
first stop for rescued or escaped children. In 2007, the military
processed 546 victims before turning them over to NGO-run
rehabilitation centers. The military's figures were the most
accurate over the last year. NGOs told Embassy officers that their
own systems of counting were non-functional throughout the year.
The Government and donors also provide financial, medical,
psychological, and rehabilitation services to ex-abductees,
including child soldiers, for resettlement into Ugandan society.
The Child and Family Protection Unit at the national police
headquarters monitors sex crimes involving children and local police
efforts to rescue children from exploitative forms of labor. The
Director of Public Prosecutions for the national government
maintains statistics on the number of prosecutions and convictions
on the crime of sex with a minor, which includes trafficking
victims. Since comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation has not
yet passed, trafficking cases are charged under other statutes, and
specific trafficking statistics are not broken out. Uganda
cooperates with INTERPOL and with regional law enforcement
initiatives. The Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development
worked with ILO-IPEC to carry out a rapid assessment of the child
trafficking problem in 2006.
4. (SBU) Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers:
28A: Uganda does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, but
draft anti-trafficking legislation was introduced into Parliament on
July 3, 2007, receiving unanimous support on the floor. It received
its first reading and referral to the Committee on Defense and
Internal Affairs on December 19, 2007. A Committee of Experts
meeting was held on January 11 to prepare the bill for its first
committee hearing. The bill, when enacted, will cover both internal
and external trafficking. It also will domesticate the U.N.
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children.
East African Parliamentarian Dora Byamukama, with U.S. assistance
through the American Bar Association (ABA), adapted a model
anti-trafficking law developed in the U.S. to the Ugandan context
and solicited input from Ugandan stakeholders. Byamukama and Winnie
Masiko, who heads the Uganda Women's Parliamentary Association,
continue to lead the private members' bill through the legislative
process. Both women are receiving U.S. assistance to raise
awareness on the bill within Parliament, other government agencies,
and the public. The bill is expected to pass during this
Uganda does have statutes under which trafficking can be prosecuted.
The Penal Code Act contains penalties for several
trafficking-related offenses including procurement of a woman to
become a prostitute, detention with sexual intent, sex with a minor
girl (defilement), dealing in slaves, and compelling unlawful labor.
Taken together, these laws cover the full scope of trafficking in
persons. However, lack of investigative resources and technical
capacity in the criminal justice system limit effective enforcement
of the different laws.
28B-C: Trafficking cases are usually prosecuted under the following
statutes; Section 131 of the Penal Code Act, which prohibits the
procurement of any woman or girl to become a common prostitute or to
work in a brothel, either in Uganda or elsewhere. The penalty for
this offense is up to seven years imprisonment. Section 134
prohibits the unlawful detention of another person for the purpose
of sexual intercourse, including in a brothel. The penalty for this
offense is up to seven years imprisonment.
Section 249 prohibits the import, export, purchase, sale, receipt,
or detention of persons as slaves. The penalty for such activities
is imprisonment for up to 10 years. Section 250 prohibits the
compulsion of any person to labor against his or her will; however,
this is a misdemeanor offense. Acting Commissioner for Labor
Harriet Luyima said that there have not been any convictions for
labor violations because the labor inspectors are being used to
raise awareness of labor regulations and are not yet in a position
to conduct full-scale enforcement without training.
A February government report cleared three labor export agencies of
fraud. The report stated that the firms had not breached any labor
export statutory instrument. The firms continued to operate during
the reporting period.
28D: Rape carries a maximum penalty of death. This sentence is
sometimes imposed but has not been carried out in many years.
Defilement (sex with a minor girl even if consensual) likewise
carries a maximum penalty of death. These penalties are more severe
than those for procuring a woman to be a prostitute (up to 7 years
imprisonment) or for dealing in slaves (up to 10 years
28E: Section 139 of the Penal Code Act prohibits any person from
practicing or engaging in prostitution. The penalty for
prostitution is up to seven years imprisonment. Similarly, Section
137 prohibits any person from operating a brothel with a penalty of
up to seven years imprisonment. Section 136 prohibits any person
from living on the earnings of a prostitute, which includes aiding,
abetting, or compelling prostitution. The penalty for this offense
is also up to seven years imprisonment. On occasion, the police
will conduct "sweeps" in urban centers where prostitutes commonly
work and arrest as many prostitutes as they encounter.
28F: In the case of LRA abductions, most rescued rebels or
defectors--which include child abductees--apply for and receive
amnesty. The Government has offered blanket amnesty to
ex-combatants since 2000 as a means to induce defection and
surrender of rebels. Amnesty also recognizes abductees as victims
who were forced to commit atrocities. The Amnesty Commission was
created by the government to process amnesty requests. In 2006,
2,490 former LRA combatants applied for and received amnesty. Many
of these had been abducted as children. As a result of the amnesty
process, the Government has not arrested, prosecuted, or convicted
LRA rebels (most of whom were also victims of abduction) for
At the request of the Ugandan Government, the International Criminal
Court (ICC) issued warrants in October 2005 for the arrest of the
top five commanders of the LRA for crimes against humanity including
murder, enslavement, and rape in October 2005. One of the
indictees, Raska Lukwiya, was killed on August 12, 2006 by the
Ugandan military. LRA leader Joseph Kony executed his deputy,
another indictee, Vincent Otti, on October 2, 2007. The Government
and LRA negotiation teams held separate, nationwide consultations
with Ugandan stakeholders from August until December 2007 on the
accountability and reconciliation mechanisms as part of the peace
negotiations. Ugandans, overwhelmingly, voiced their preference for
a mixture of legal and local, traditional mechanisms of justice for
the LRA, including its leadership. Ugandans largely called for the
ICC indictments to be lifted to pave the way for a peaceful
resolution to the conflict. During peace talks in Juba, Southern
Sudan, the GOU and LRA signed an agreement on February 29, 2008 in
which the Government would request a suspension of the ICC warrants
when the LRA had fully assembled. The GOU would establish a Special
Division of the High Court to try the LRA in Uganda. Under
traditional mechanisms, LRA members would have to admit guilt,
asking of forgiveness, and pay compensation to victims.
Over the past year, police have discovered at least two trafficking
rings. One involved young Indian girls trafficked into Uganda for
prostitution and pornography. Immigration officials identified two
of the victims to help with the investigation. They were granted
dispensation to stay in Uganda by the Minister of Internal Affairs.
Immigration regulations required that the government deport the
others. The trafficker fled but is believed to be in Uganda. The
second ring involved Indian, Chinese, and Sri Lankan workers
trafficked as forced laborers. In these cases, the perpetrators
were charged with kidnapping and making threats with menace and
deported. The monitoring of evening flights to Dubai has uncovered
the trafficking of children to U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, and possibly the
Gulf states. Security at Entebbe International Airport busted a
base of operations near the airport. Immigration officers
intercepted and picked up two Asians who were implicated in
trafficking at the airport. The children were recovered and the
traffickers charged with document fraud. Immigration and security
officials estimate that ten children per month may be trafficked
through Dubai. Beginning in July, police checkpoints on roads
leading in and out of Karamoja stopped numerous vehicles
transporting young children being trafficked to Kampala. Four girls
were rescued from traffickers on July 11, 2006 and police continue
to question passengers on these roads to determine if they are being
The government enforces a law that punishes any person who has sex
with a minor. In 2007, the Government arrested 3,689 people on
charges of defilement. Of these, 861 were convicted. Many
defilement cases are settled out of court through agreements reached
between the perpetrator and the victim's family.
A police report summary stated that there were 54 recorded cases of
child abduction and disappearances in 2007. Police attributed the
decline to increased public awareness of the problem. Of these
missing children, 42 were recovered, 4 were killed in child
sacrifices, and the rest remain missing.
The Labor Commissioner and Parliamentary Committee on Labor began
investigating the security guard industry in October 2006. Over
1,500 Ugandans are serving as security guards at U.S. installations
in Iraq. The Labor Commissioner has suspended at least three local
guard companies for not paying the guards as promised and changing
the terms of the contracts after the guards were deployed to Iraq.
One of the Ugandan companies was a contractor providing Ugandan
security guards at U.S. military bases in Iraq. The U.S.
sub-contractor was briefed by the P/E Officer and DATT at the U.S.
Embassy in Kampala in October 2006 and was given information on what
labor practices constitute trafficking, past DOD contractors that
were fined for such practices, and the relevant U.S. regulations
against trafficking. The U.S. sub-contractor discontinued the
contract with the Ugandan company in December 2006. The Government
is drafting regulations for companies sourcing Ugandans for external
employment and has blacklisted several firms.
Labor inspectors investigate complaints of inappropriate labor
practices, including child labor, and have the authority to impose
civil penalties on employers. In practice, inspectors in the north
lack the resources to adequately cover their entire districts.
Local district officials, the inspectors, and ILO-IPEC collaborate
on ways to increase the inspectors' mobility and information
collection. District child labor committees were one effective
mechanism to make up for a lack of resources.
28G: The Government, primarily the police, provides specialized
training in trafficking as part of its child protection programs.
In January 2008, the Government agreed to an ICITAP police training
program and began working with ICITAP to design the program for
Ugandan police, immigration, and labor inspectors. The Child and
Family Protection Unit of the national police, with assistance from
ILO-IPEC, trained 163 police officers and senior commanders on child
rights, child labor laws, and definitions of the worst forms of
child labor. Local NGOs were invited to the training to present
information on the nature and forms of child labor in Uganda,
including child prostitution. These police officers have already
trained more than 150 additional police officers on child labor
rights and crimes and will continue to train other colleagues.
28H: The GOU and Government of South Sudan's joint military
operations deprived the LRA of bases in northern Uganda and southern
Sudan. The two governments continue to work together to protect
both countries from the LRA. The Government cooperates with the
Government of Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, and to a
more limited extent with the DRC. The national police also
participate in the East African Police Chiefs Organization (EAPCO),
which includes nine countries in the region. The organization
provides mutual legal assistance, training, and a forum to discuss
trans-national crime. The INTERPOL unit of the national police also
participates in multilateral investigations of cross-border crimes
including drug and firearms trafficking, although none have so far
included human trafficking crimes. Through the U.S.-facilitated
Tripartite Plus process, the governments of Uganda, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda have drafted a common
28I: The GOU belongs to INTERPOL and has in the past, in other
crime cases, honored extradition warrants. There have been no cases
of extradition on the basis of trafficking charges in Uganda. The
EAPCO is currently developing an extradition treaty for the nine
member countries that should facilitate the extradition of
criminals. Uganda, Rwanda, Burunda, and DRC have developed a draft
common extradition treaty.
28J: There was one report of a border official who may have
benefited from the trafficking of an individual in 2006. In
general, there are no reports that government officials condone or
are involved with traffickers.
28K: No cases reported. No indication of official tolerance of
28L: Not applicable for Uganda per reftel. However, in August
2007, Ugandan troops received training on trafficking in persons
through the African Contingency Operations and Training Assistance
(ACOTA) program in preparation for deployment to Somalia. Uganda
police officers have, in the past, headed the child protection unit
of the African Union/U.N. Mission in Sudan.
28M: Uganda does not have an identified child sex tourism problem.
However, in 2006, Ugandan nationals were noted to be users of child
prostitutes in Kenya. The anti-TIP law draft has an
extraterritorial provision to allow prosecution of Ugandans for
trafficking-related offenses in another country.
5. (SBU) Protection and Assistance to Victims.
29A: Currently, Ugandan law does not protect foreign trafficking
victims. The Minister of Internal Affairs can allow a foreign
victim to remain in Uganda to assist an investigation. In most
cases, however, victims are deported to their country of origin.
The new legislation will remedy the current limitations on handling
foreign victims. The government does not have the resources or
services to provide a livelihood or other assistance to foreign
29B: The Government provides assistance to former LRA abductees,
including children. The Ugandan military has a Child Protection
Unit, which facilitates the reception and debriefing of former child
soldiers, as well as their subsequent transfer to NGO-run
reintegration centers. Child soldiers who surrender or are captured
are provided with shelter and food during the short period (one or
two days) before they are transferred to NGO custody. NGOs are
notified by the military as soon as the military has a child under
its care. In 2007, the UPDF Child Protection Unit rescued and
assisted 546 children before transferring them to NGO-run centers
for longer term care and support. The GOU grants blanket amnesty,
through a law passed in 2000, which absolves returnees (abducted
persons and/or former rebels) from criminal liability if they return
and renounce rebellion. The amnesty program has been an important
method to encourage the surrender of LRA rebels and has led to a
significant reduction in LRA strength.
Under the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development there
are two transit shelters for internally displaced Karamojong,
including those children who were used for begging or trafficked to
Kampala. The facilities in Kampala are not specifically for
trafficking victims. In February 2007, there were 813 Karamojong at
the Mpigi facility. They were transferred as part of a group of two
thousand others to two transit centers in Karamoja. These transit
centers are predominantly for children and adults who migrated out
of the region for better economic opportunities. Many of the
children were sent by their families to beg in the major urban
29C: The Government does not have the resources to fund foreign or
domestic NGOs for services to trafficking victims. However, the
Government works closely with NGOs that assist former LRA abductees
at reception centers and Karamojong children removed from the
29D: The Ugandan military's Child Protection Unit screens children
who were trafficked by the LRA and refers them to NGO-run assistance
programs. National and local level officials, especially district
child labor committees, support the efforts of ILO/IPEC by
identifying children for withdrawal from the worst forms of child
labor. Local governments also have child labor committees to
monitor the working conditions of children and to identify at risk
children. As previously stated, the police conduct public awareness
campaigns and remain in touch with schools, which assist in
identifying victims. A U.S. non-governmental organization placed
2,400 children at risk for trafficking or other worst forms of child
labor into schools. District labor committees assisted in
identifying vulnerable children.
29E: Prostitution is not legal in Uganda.
29F: The rights of victims are generally respected. The majority
of children over the age of 12 and others abducted by the LRA are
granted amnesty through a government-supported program. After a
period of residence at NGO reception centers, generally about six
weeks, they are released so that they can be reunited with their
families and reintegrated into society. NGOs and others provide
limited additional assistance, including psychosocial counseling.
Child sex workers rounded up with adult prostitutes during police
sweeps are generally released without charge. Under current law,
immigration officials are required to deport individuals in
violation of the immigration code. The Legal Affairs Department at
Immigration recognizes the problem, which will be rectified with the
new anti-trafficking legislation.
29G: In northern Uganda, the Government has offered amnesty to LRA
rebels who renounce rebellion. Formerly abducted children assisted
the government through providing information on the location of
weapons caches and rebel camps. The amnesty program is strongly
supported by the civilian communities subject to LRA abductions and
The government encourages victims in sexually related trafficking
cases to testify. A medical exam, which can be conducted by a
police physician, is necessary to provide evidence of the crime.
However, the police employ few physicians due to resource
constraints. As a result, victims of defilement and rape often have
to pay for their own medical exams. The cost deters many from
following through with legal action. There is also social stigma
against victims of sexual crimes in some communities. Other factors
believed to inhibit reporting and prosecution of sexual crimes
include fear of retribution, lack of support services, and use of
alternative restitution procedures.
29H: Rescued victims of LRA trafficking are provided with initial
care and support to assist in their rehabilitation and
reintegration. After victims are reintegrated into communities,
they are not provided any special protection beyond the general
Ugandan military action to prevent overall LRA activity. The
government can provide safehouses and other forms of witness
protection when it is determined that there is a threat.
29I: The Government does make provision in the military for the
training of members of the Child Protection Unit. Children's rights
are also emphasized in other human rights training programs provided
to police and security forces. Ugandan soldiers are given specific
training on the rights of children and carry a code of conduct. The
code states: soldiers must apply and reinforce all practical and
legal measures to protect children and their mother's lives and
property before, during, and after conflict; soldiers should inspire
confidence and let children know they are protected; soldiers should
never neglect child protection issues and know Children's Rights;
soldiers should stop the use of child soldiers and never give
children ammunition to carry; soldiers should not rape children;
soldiers should not maltreat, massacre, or mutilate children or
separate them from their families; and soldiers should give children
good advice. Police officers are actively participating in a
specialized training program on the worst forms of child labor. A
wide range of government officials will be trained on human
trafficking beginning in May 2008. The Ugandan Embassy in Cairo
assisted the three victims with travel documents.
29J: The Government provides assistance, including medical aid, to
former abductees returning from LRA captivity.
29K: UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision, International
Organization for Migration, Kitgum Concerned Women's Association,
Gulu Support the Children Organization, Concerned Parent's
Association, Give Me a Chance, the International Rescue Committee,
Uganda Youth Development Link, Busia Compassionate Friends, Kids in
Need, Restore International, International Justice Mission, and a
number of other NGOs work with formerly abducted children in
northern Uganda and children in situations of commercial sex
exploitation. These organizations provide food, shelter,
psychosocial counseling, and vocational training. The Government
cooperates fully with these activities.
6. (SBU) Prevention.
30A: The Government acknowledges that the abductions in northern
Uganda and the children exploited in the sex industry are problems
in Uganda. The Government, at the highest levels, acknowledges that
trafficking in persons is a problem and is supporting efforts to
strengthen the government anti-trafficking laws.
30B: The Government used the national Labor Day celebrations (May
1, 2007) and the African Day of the Child (June 12) to raise public
awareness about child trafficking and promote the new child labor
laws. The Government-run press, radio, and television stations ran
public service advertisements about trafficking. Government
ministers hosted anti-trafficking events nationwide. P/E chief
participated with the Minister of State for Labor in launching an
NGO-study on the plight of domestic workers in Uganda on Labor Day.
The Minister of State for Justice, P/E chief, and NGO victim
advocates participated in a panel discussion on trafficking on June
12. In northern Uganda, government uses local-language radio
programs to attempt to reach abducted children and their captors to
persuade them to return from the bush. To date, public awareness
campaigns focused on addressing the supply side of trafficking
because the GOU identified "ignorance" of the issue as the primary
30C: The GOU, particularly the police, and non-governmental
organizations work closely on matters related to children. The
national police continue to cooperate with an ILO-IPEC,
International Committee of the Red Cross, and Save the Children to
carry out programs to train local police officers and senior police
commanders on raising awareness in local communities on the nature
and dangers of child labor, including child prostitution. NGOs also
helped police trainers train 300 local police officers on their
responsibility to prevent child exploitation and enforce the related
laws. The most recent training of new police constables occurred in
Lira in early February 2007. The Child Protection Unit of the
police also used community meetings, school visits and radio
programs. WBS, a local television station, aired a widely watched
television special on child prostitution. The government-run New
Vision newspaper ran a victim's story with advice to children who
are being sexually exploited on February 25, 2007. Radio networks,
which are the primary source of information for most Ugandans,
carried several talk show programs about the scope and magnitude of
child trafficking and child labor in Uganda. The Government
maintains a positive relationship with international agencies, NGOs,
and others involved in programs to address various aspects of the
trafficking problem. The MGLSD and National Children's Council have
an MOU with ILO/IPEC to eliminate child labor. The military and
police turn children over to NGOs and have received training on
protection issues for children. The NGOs advise the military on
child-friendly tactics. One international NGO arranged a roundtable
discussion between the military and former abductees to discuss ways
to improve the UPDF's ability to rescue children from the LRA.
30D: Immigration officials discovered trafficking cases through
monitoring of passport issuance. In 2000, Uganda required that all
children have their own passports as a means to prevent child
smuggling and trafficking. This has helped identify potential
external trafficking victims. The Government monitors its borders
and has cooperated in a US-financed program to increase border
security. Traffickers have been apprehended at Uganda's border with
Kenya and Rwanda. Uganda's INTERPOL unit disseminates international
alerts on suspects to Uganda's border officials for screening
immigrants. Immigration officials are monitoring flights to Dubai,
which have been used to traffic children. The Uganda police also
cooperate closely with their counterparts in the region to
investigate and arrest suspects involved in cross-border crime.
30E: The Minister of Internal Affairs through the anti-trafficking
department will be tasked with coordinating TIP efforts. Currently,
the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development oversees
30G: Government officials have participated in a national
anti-trafficking working group formed in 2005. In 2006, the working
group participated in the drafting of the anti-trafficking law. The
Government has a Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity and an
Inspectorate General of Government that are tasked with
30F: The Ministry of Labor is working with police, local
governments, the Ministries of Justice and Immigration, and
non-governmental and international organizations to develop a draft
National Plan of Action aimed specifically at disseminating anti-TIP
resources throughout the country. Different ministries have
national action plans that address trafficking problems in Uganda.
The Ministries of Defense and Internal Affairs implement plans to
end the LRA insurgency. The MGLSD also has a five-year plan that
includes assisting children so that they do not become vulnerable to
traffickers. NGOs have been consulted in these discussions.
30H: In October 2007 the government started to draft a law to
address sexual exploitation. The Ugandan Penal Code prohibits
procuring of a female and causing her to become a prostitute, to
leave the country to frequent a brothel elsewhere, or become an
inmate of a brothel. Punishment for those offenses is imprisonment
for up to 7 years. The same punishment applies in cases in which a
female below age 21 is procured for the purpose of unlawful carnal
connection with any other person in Uganda or elsewhere. The code
also prohibits procuring any person by using threats, intimidation,
false pretense or false representation or by administering drugs.
Owning or occupying premises where a girl younger than 18 years is
induced to have unlawful sex with any man is punishable by
imprisonment for 5 years. Under the code, no person can be
convicted of procurement based on evidence provided by only one
collaborating evidence. Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social
Affairs officials said the law is difficult to implement. Most
people who were previously arrested in the act of prostitution were
charged with being idle and disorderly. The government embarked on
community awareness-raising efforts to target poor rural areas where
girls and women are most likely to be recruited.
30H: Not applicable.
30I: Not applicable.