Category: Prevention


Collaborative Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking: Insights from the 2023 U.S TIP Report

In June, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons-Uganda (CATIP-U) partnered with the Human Trafficking Institute to host a knowledge-sharing session and exchange. This online session was centred around the release of the 2023 U.S. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, a key annual publication that sheds light on the state of human trafficking across the globe. The session aimed to deepen Ugandan stakeholder’s understanding of Uganda’s position in the fight against trafficking and chart a path forward for collective action.

For over two decades, the U.S. TIP Report has been an essential tool in the arsenal of anti-trafficking advocates worldwide. It provides a comprehensive overview of human trafficking, ranking countries through a tier system based on their anti-trafficking efforts. This system not only serves as a benchmark for nations to measure their progress but also offers a framework for enhancing responses to human trafficking. The 2023 report, like its predecessors, plays a pivotal role in informed decision-making, coordination among stakeholders, and identifying growth opportunities.

Despite the immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda retained its Tier 2 status in the 2023 U.S. TIP Report, a testament to its unwavering commitment to combating human trafficking. This achievement underscores Uganda’s resilience and dedication to improving its standing in the global fight against trafficking.

The 2023 U.S. TIP Report lauded Uganda for several noteworthy achievements in its anti-trafficking efforts, including:

  1. Record-breaking trafficker convictions in a single year, marking a significant milestone in the region’s fight against trafficking.
  2. A remarkable increase in human trafficking prosecutions, demonstrating an escalated enforcement drive.
  3. Strengthened training initiatives for government officials and community leaders, fostering improved coordination.
  4. The creation of child-friendly interview rooms and the introduction of anonymous victim testimony, prioritizing victim rights and confidentiality.
  5. The pioneering establishment of District Task Forces for tracking persons, promoting a collaborative approach.
  6. Inauguration of a 24-hour toll-free hotline for reporting trafficking incidents, encouraging citizen engagement in the fight against trafficking.

The 2023 report’s recommendations provided a blueprint for actionable steps to further enhance Uganda’s anti-trafficking efforts. These recommendations included:

  1. Expanding the availability of shelters, housing, and specialised services for trafficking victims.
  2. Enacting victim witness assistance legislation and implementing comprehensive assistance programmes.
  3. Strengthening protective measures for Ugandan trafficking victims exploited abroad.
  4. Deepening the partnership between law enforcement and prosecutors to expedite judicial proceedings and enhance evidence gathering.
  5. Bolstering efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged traffickers, with a focus on just penalties
  6. Systematic victim identification through the implementation of referral guidelines
  7. Rigorous oversight and regulation of labour recruitment entities
  8. Approving the establishment of an anti-trafficking department within the national police force, underpinned by sufficient funding
  9. Ratifying the 2000 Human Trafficking in Persons Protocol, showcasing commitment to global anti-trafficking initiatives

The knowledge-sharing session witnessed active participation from a diverse group of stakeholders, all of whom offered thoughtful reactions to the report and its recommendations. Attendees appreciated the strides made and insights gained while also acknowledging areas that require intensified efforts. The discussions highlighted the importance of sensitization, support for single mothers, victim and witness protection, and collaboration between government and civil society.

In response to the session’s deliberations, attendees collectively emphasised the importance of translating dialogues into actionable strategies. Key areas of focus included: Engaging the government for financial support towards shelters and victim services, Advocating for the enactment of witness protection legislation, Promoting the ratification of relevant anti-trafficking protocols and Advocacy for enhanced victim services.

During the session, various participants contributed valuable insights and perspectives on the recommendations outlined in the 2023 U.S. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report and the strategies needed to move forward. Their thoughtful remarks further enriched the discussion and reinforced the collaborative approach to combating human trafficking in Uganda.

  1. Engaging with Recommendations: Several participants expressed enthusiasm for the recommendations put forth in the report. They highlighted the alignment between the report’s suggestions and their aspirations for Uganda’s anti-trafficking efforts. They appreciated the focus on adult male shelters and acknowledged the existing gap in this area. This acknowledgement was seen as a growth opportunity for the country. Attendees encouraged each other to harness the recommendations to shape their collective work and amplify their efforts.
  2. Government Support and Funding: There was a consensus on the importance of government involvement and financial support for anti-trafficking initiatives. The participants recognised the challenges posed by the current budget allocation for combating trafficking. They collectively emphasised the need to secure more substantial government funding for shelters and victim support services. They acknowledged that this financial commitment would be instrumental in advancing Uganda’s Tier 1 ranking aspirations.
  3. Witness Protection Legislation and Shelters: The discussions gravitated towards the significance of witness protection legislation, a vital aspect that influences the provision of shelters and victim assistance. Participants emphasised that such legislation could offer a holistic approach to both shelter and protection needs, serving as a comprehensive framework. The sentiment was that the witness protection bill, already recognised by the Ugandan government, could potentially address these concerns if properly enacted.
  4. Collective Advocacy and Strategy: To effectively drive change, the participants underscored the necessity of a collective strategy. They considered engaging key government figures, like the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as an avenue for initiating discussions around funding shelters and victim support. Furthermore, there was a proposal to involve the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, or other pertinent ministries, to facilitate discussions around reintroducing and advancing the witness protection bill. Attendees encouraged collaborative dialogue and emphasised the importance of persuasively presenting the financial implications and societal benefits of these efforts to gain government support.

The insights shared during the knowledge-sharing session highlighted the collaborative spirit and determination of diverse stakeholders in Uganda’s anti-trafficking endeavors. The participants’ dedication to transforming recommendations into actionable strategies reflected their commitment to creating a safer environment for Ugandans vulnerable to trafficking. By joining forces and harnessing government support, Uganda can pave the way towards achieving Tier 1 status and strengthening its position in the global fight against human trafficking. The session showcased the power of uniting various stakeholders around a common cause and creating a roadmap for meaningful change. Together, they are forging a brighter future, free from the scourge.


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.