Members of the Worldwide African Congress have asked Parliament to put an end to human trafficking by reinstating the ban on exportation of Ugandan girls to work as house maids in the Middle East.
The Chairperson of the Worldwide African Congress, Wafrika Mayambala presented a petition to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, in the presence of the Chairperson of the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Margaret Komuhangi (Nakasongola District) on Monday 22nd May, 2017 at Parliament.
Mayambala called for reinstatement of the ban on exportation of labour to the Middle East initially imposed in January 2016.
He said many Ugandan girls were being hoodwinked by companies offering employment into thinking that they were going for reasonable jobs yet they were being taken on as maid and being tortured, raped and exploited.
“We do not believe that Ugandans benefit from this because the majority of the girls end up suffering and have to return. Many never wish to go back because they have been sexually abused, physically abused or forced to work without pay,” Mayambala said.
Mayambala further noted that the ban could have been lifted because some people in the Executive have companies involved in the exportation of labour.
“We know that many of the companies engaged in taking these girls to the Middle East are owned by people in government; this might be the motive behind lifting the ban,” he added.
In the petition, Mayambala asked that Parliament permanently bans exportation of labour in form of girls to do domestic work in the Middle East; Government looks for alternative jobs for people seeking employment abroad besides domestic work and; the establishment of a government controlled diaspora fund for those who are stranded abroad.
Speaker, Kadaga, said that Parliament was not happy either about the situation and that they had asked government for a comprehensive report on the issue.
She said that instead, the response given by government was about government entering agreements with the key states in the Middle East and the ban being lifted.
“We need to look at the push and pull factors here that lead people to leave the country; I was approached by a girl who went to be a domestic worker even after I had stopped her. She eventually called me asking for money after being tortured,” the Speaker said.
Kadaga, however, noted that there were some instances of people going abroad, living and working comfortably.
“I was in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and I saw some Ugandans doing good jobs,” she noted.
She said that Parliament was thinking of asking the government to cater for air tickets for those going formally and health insurance. However, the Speaker added that people do not want to be registered at the embassies in these different countries because some of them are there illegally.
The Speaker encouraged people who seek employment abroad to arm themselves with skills so that they can be more marketable.
Hon. Komuhangi said that the rampant unemployment is the reason people are resorting to seeking employment in whatever form abroad.
She said that even when dissuaded, people will go through neighbouring countries because of porous borders.
“We need to scale up sensitizing the youths so that they know the dangers involved in taking on employment abroad especially through the wrong means. Government must take responsibility and control the companies involved in taking people abroad,” Komuhangi said.
Komuhangi noted that government had set up a liaison office in every embassy to deal with such issues.