Empowering Youth to Combat Human Trafficking: A Successful Awareness Campaign at Kibibi Primary School in Jinja

Blog written by Doreen Birungi of One by One and Josephine Tusingwire of Sole Hope

As the world prepares to commemorate the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, 2023, the fight against human trafficking gains momentum. In a remarkable collaboration, One by One and Sole Hope joined forces with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons Uganda (CATIP-U) to tackle the prevention aspect of this grave issue in Jinja. The focal point of their efforts was the Kibibi Primary School, where an open session on anti-trafficking was organised last week. This outreach marked the first time the school received such crucial information aimed at empowering the students to be vigilant and resilient against human trafficking.

Aligning with this year’s theme, “Reach Every Victim of Trafficking, Leave No One Behind,” the initiative aimed to raise awareness among school-going children about their vulnerability as potential targets of traffickers. The information provided during the session aimed to equip the learners with knowledge about the realities of human trafficking, enabling them to recognise the signs, stay informed about society’s happenings, and take a stand against this heinous crime.

Recognising the vital role of the police in combating human trafficking, the event invited representatives from the child and family protection unit of the Uganda police. They shared valuable insights on the police’s role in the fight against human trafficking, emphasising their commitment to protecting children and families from exploitation.

The awareness session meticulously addressed the various elements of trafficking, focusing on a simplified definition and outlining the activities involved. The attendees, who included students, teachers, and non-teaching staff, were educated about the ACT (recruitment, mobilisation, transfer, transportation, and receipt) of human trafficking. To make the concepts relatable to the children, real-life examples were presented, highlighting cases where children were mobilised by their peers and transported to Kampala under uncertain circumstances.

Sole Hope, one of the collaborating organisations, shed light on the means used by traffickers and the tactics they employ to lure children away from school and home. One student shared a harrowing experience of individuals visiting their village under the guise of offering bursaries to children. Such eye-opening accounts revealed the gravity of the situation and urged the children to remain vigilant and cautious.

The CFPU officer shared compelling real-life trafficking cases involving children, leaving a profound impact on the young audience. These stories brought the harsh reality of human trafficking closer to home, making it more tangible and relatable to the children’s own lives.

Responding to the students’ repeated inquiries about safety measures, the presenters shared practical tips and precautionary measures. The learners were encouraged to share the knowledge they had gained with their families, ensuring that no one would be left behind in the fight against human trafficking.

The day’s activities went beyond awareness sessions, as One by One and Sole Hope integrated their routine programmes to benefit the students. Sole Hope organised a jigger treatment clinic, providing necessary medical care to help the learners stay in school, thus reducing their vulnerability to traffickers. Simultaneously, One by One addressed menstrual health hygiene, supporting girls with reusable sanitary pads to promote girl child education and minimise their exposure to potential traffickers.

Through the awareness messages delivered on July 6, a total of 750 students and their teachers became informed advocates against human trafficking. This substantial outreach exemplified the campaign’s commitment to leaving no one behind, ensuring that every young individual had access to essential knowledge and tools to protect themselves and others from the scourge of human trafficking.

The collaborative efforts of One by One, Sole Hope, and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons Uganda (CATIP-U) yielded resounding success in raising awareness about human trafficking among schoolchildren in Jinja. By educating the students, sharing real-life stories, promoting safety measures, and providing vital support, the campaign empowered young individuals to stand up against this pervasive crime. Through their efforts, they ensured that no one was left behind in the fight against human trafficking, creating a safer and more resilient community for all.



By: Jennifer Racheal Alum, Assistant Program Director – Willow International

In the month of October, Willow International had the privilege of witnessing the heartwarming arrival of bundles of joy, heralding the birth of new lives into this world. Within the nurturing walls of our residential care, five courageous survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation, who had endured unimaginable hardships, defied the odds and brought forth five healthy babies. Remarkably, the youngest mother among them was just 13 years old.

The journey leading up to this moment was fraught with uncertainties, both for these young mothers and for Willow International. We wondered if these brave souls would be able to embrace their newborns, let alone nourish them through breastfeeding. However, what unfolded before our eyes was a testament to the incredible strength and resilience of these young mothers. With unwavering courage, they lovingly cradled their babies, embracing them with an intensity that only a mother’s love can provide. They fearlessly undertook the sacred act of breastfeeding, embodying the spirit of bravery and determination that defines the core values of Willow International.

At Willow International, we firmly believe that courage is one of the pillars that upholds our mission. Witnessing these young mothers step into their maternal roles with such passion and commitment reaffirmed our belief in the indomitable spirit of the human heart. Their willingness to nurture their babies and provide them with the sustenance they needed demonstrated their extraordinary capacity for love and resilience.

The journey towards healing and recovery for survivors of trafficking and exploitation is a complex and multifaceted one. In the face of unimaginable trauma, it is remarkable to witness the transformation that occurs when these survivors find solace in the embrace of motherhood. The arrival of these precious babies marked a significant milestone not just for the young mothers, but for Willow International as an organization dedicated to empowering survivors and helping them rebuild their lives.

As we reflect on the awe-inspiring journey of these courageous young mothers, we are reminded of the power of support, compassion, and community. Willow International is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment where survivors can heal, grow, and find the strength to face the challenges ahead. We celebrate the bravery of these young mothers and pledge our unwavering support as they navigate the path of motherhood, ensuring that their babies have the best possible start in life.

The arrival of these five healthy babies serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that even in the darkest of circumstances, light can prevail. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of love. Willow International will continue to champion the rights of survivors, advocate for their healing, and create a world where every individual is free from the shackles of exploitation.

Together, let us stand in awe of these young mothers and their newborns, acknowledging their unwavering courage and the profound impact they have made in our lives. Let their stories inspire us to work tirelessly towards a future where no individual suffers the horrors of trafficking, and every child is nurtured in an environment of love, protection, and opportunity