Tag: Survivors


Strengthening Support for Victims of Trafficking and Vulnerable Migrants in Uganda, CATIPU initiates coordination platform.

Uganda, like many other countries, faces significant challenges related to unemployment, which often leads to the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable populations, especially women and young people. This dire situation has made individuals susceptible to trafficking in persons and other forms of exploitation. It is also important to note that Uganda continues to serve as a source and transit point for migrants seeking to work in the Middle East and other parts of the world, which is a situation that traffickers exploit and take advantage of by engaging these migrating and transiting populations in forced labour and sex trafficking, as well as other forms of trafficking. Such evidence suggests that the exploitation of vulnerable migrants is a pressing issue in Uganda.

Recognising the need for intervention, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons-Uganda (CATIP-U), in collaboration with the German-Uganda Development Cooperation through the Better Migration Management Programme (BMM), has taken a proactive approach to create a coordination platform for referral and sustainable solutions for victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants.

Preliminary findings from a mapping exercise that we conducted in 2022 revealed the existence of a significant number of non-state actors, such as local NGOs and international organisations, that offer services aimed at enhancing socio-economic opportunities for victims and vulnerable migrants. However, the transition of victims into the labour market remains a hurdle. To bridge this gap, CATIP-U identified and conceptualised that the involvement of the private sector is a crucial factor in providing sustainable solutions to this issue. As a result, we have now launched and initiated dialogues towards establishing a coordination platform between CSOs and private sector players.

The main objective of these dialogues and organised engagements is to initiate discussions and determine the working modalities of the coordination platform. This platform will aim to create linkages between service providers and the private sector, enabling comprehensive support for victims. By bringing together key stakeholders, including CSOs and private sector players, the platform will enhance collaboration and ensure a more targeted response to the needs of victims and vulnerable migrants. The establishment of this coordination platform will lead to several tangible outcomes, especially towards enhancing access to sustainable solutions (i.e., economic activities and other services) for victims of trafficking, vulnerable migrants, and returned labour migrants and linking them to socio-economic and livelihood opportunities.

According to the 2022 report from the U.S. Department of State and the national report on trafficking in persons in Uganda 2021, access to adequate services and sustainable solutions for the victims of trafficking in persons and vulnerable migrants remains a challenge, and this results in re-victimisation of the victims of trafficking.

Currently, most of the protection services are directly offered by non-state actors, particularly local NGOs and international organisations. The preliminary findings from the mapping of sustainable solutions in Uganda undertaken by CATIP-U with support from BMM II indicated that 78% of members and nonmembers of the coalition offer a wide range of services that aim at enhancing access to socio-economic opportunities for the VoTs and vulnerable migrants for sustainability purposes. While service providers provide vocational and life skills to VoTs and vulnerable migrants, oftentimes the victims are unable to transit into the labour market. In addition, the role of the private sector in supporting VoTs and vulnerable migrants to access sustainable solutions was identified as a key facilitator, thus the need to actively engage them and create linkages between the service providers and the private sector players.

By establishing this coordination platform, CATIP-U and its partners aim to address these challenges, combat trafficking in persons, and protect vulnerable populations. Through enhanced collaboration and the provision of sustainable solutions, we can work towards building a safer and more secure future for victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants in Uganda.

Special thanks to all the partners that are part of these engagements including; Women Probono Initiative, Federation of Uganda Employers, Dwelling Places, Emerging Solutions Africa, The Salvation Army, Make A Child Smile, Mukono Youth Advocacy Alliance, Human Trafficking Institute, East Africa Youth Network, Barisa Fashions, tailors and designers, Buikwe Touch Rehabilitation Ministries, Footprint to Freedom, Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), Platform for Labor Action, Willow International, Maya Center for Social Innovation, Strong Minds Uganda, GIZ-Better Migration Management (BMM) and GIZ Employment and Skills for Development (E4D).



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