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Police move to raise awareness against human trafficking in secondary schools

The Coordination Office for Prevention of Human Trafficking (COPTIP) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Uganda Police, in collaboration with the German International Cooperation (GIZ), have joined forces to raise awareness against human trafficking within secondary schools in the Bukedi Region.

This sensitization program was conducted in five schools located near the border districts of Busia and Malaba in the eastern part of Uganda. The schools included Tororo Girls, Katarema School, Asinge School, Rubongi Army School, and Rock High School.

Tororo Girls was represented by 1984 students, Katarema School had 1239 students (675 Boys and 564 Girls), Asinge School with 1311 students (740 Boys and 571 Girls), Rubongi Army School with a whopping 2700 (1524 Boys and 1446 Girls) as well as Rock High with 1209 students (633 Boys and 676 Girls) while 24 students with special needs attended having 11 Boys and 13 Girls.

Speaking to students during the session, Commissioner of Police (CP) Twinomujuni Julius, the coordinator of Trafficking in Persons with the Ministry of Internal Affairs explained that this initiative is aimed at addressing the issue at an early stage, recognizing the fact that a significant number of victims are young individuals, particularly school-going girls.

The commissioner further emphasized that traffickers often target students by enticing them with promises of attractive sponsorship programs for school and appealing job opportunities, exploiting the vulnerabilities of these students who ultimately fall into their traps.

As the holiday season approaches, he stresses the importance of vigilance among teachers, students, and caretakers.

“In the case of any appealing sponsorship, thorough verification should be conducted in coordination with the appropriate authorities.” (CP) Twinomujuni stated.

In 2022, the government reported investigating 1,200 incidents of human trafficking, a significant increase compared with 421 incidents in 2021.

Of the 1,200 reported incidents of human trafficking, at least 526 involved exploitation in Uganda and at least 63 involved exploitation abroad; the remaining incidents involved unspecified forms of trafficking.

The government reported initiating prosecutions against 728 alleged traffickers in 589 cases in 2022, compared with prosecuting 537 individuals in 403 cases in 2021. Of the 589 cases filed, 338 involved sex trafficking, 173 involved labor trafficking, and 78 involved unspecified forms of trafficking; 526 involved exploitation in Uganda and 63 involved exploitation abroad.

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