Authorities in Thailand Wednesday rescued over 40 Ugandan women from a trafficking racket and arrested one more for allegedly leading the exercise.
According to reports from Thailand, at least 23 Ugandan women were were taken into custody during a sweep by police and immigration authorities along Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok on Monday night while, another thirty were rounded off on Wednesday.
The head of the Thailand Anti Trafficking in Persons Task Force (TATIP), Lt Gen Jaruvat Vaisaya, said Ugandans were the majority in the rescue mission, describing it as one of the largest number of people rescued in recent years.
Lt Gen Vaisaya told AEC News, a Thailand news site that so far, seven Ugandan human trafficking victims have returned home, while others are currently at the immigration department International Detention Centre in Bangkok to assist police in investigations.
“I’ve been ordered to shutdown human trafficking into and through Thailand. The Prime Minister has made this a national agenda item and we intend to make sure the goal is achieved. There will be no more using Thailand for the terrible crime of trafficking people”, he said.
He explained that the women are promised good paying jobs to work in supermarkets and other segments of the Thailand service sector and given money before they are convinced to leave Uganda.
“Once they get to Thailand they are told there is no job, the money they were given at home and any other money they have is taken away from them,” he said.
He added, ” They are also told they have a debt to pay; sometimes this is up to $40,000 even before they do any work. How can they ever pay that?”
He claimed that traffickers use ‘black magic’ to have victims comply to their demands.
Meanwhile, authorities in Thailand also arrested a Ugandan woman commonly known as the trafficking grandmother. The woman only identified as Sadaa was apprehended in an apartment in Bangkok.
The news comes against the heels of Uganda government recalling its United Arab Emirates ambassador, Nimisha Madhvani over her actions when she invited a select committee of members of parliament to report about human trafficking incidents involving Ugandan girls.
The legislators would later report that atleast 16 girls had committed suicide citing frustration over conditions where they live and work. The legislators reported a presence of a slave market in the country where some of the Ugandan girls are sold.
“We met three Ugandans who had nowhere to reside. It is a sad story seeing where Ugandans live but are mistreated,”Muwanga Kivumbi told parliament.
The legislators said the situation is bad both in Oman and United Arab Emirates.