Surge in cases of human trafficking worries Masaka authorities

Surge in cases of human trafficking worries Masaka authorities
Some of the victims of human trafficking after rescue.

Authorities in  greater Masaka have expressed concern over a surge in cases of human trafficking,  with over 100 victims rescued in this year.

According to Alfred Bagambaki, the police spokesperson for Masaka, the victims were mostly children and women who were being forced into labour and sexual exploitation.

David Kalanda, the director of OKOA Refuge Uganda, notes that 70-100% of human trafficking cases involve children under 18 and women. He adds that despite efforts to combat human trafficking, corruption and limited resources hinder progress.

Kalanda cites an example of a case in Mbirizi, Lwengo district, where a man Wasswa Brian Ssemaganda commonly known as Spider was arrested for trafficking children. However, due to corruption, the case was compromised, and the suspect was released.

“This happened on Apr, 28, 2023. There were four girls and he got them from Lyantonde district. These girls were discovered from a one room rental in Mbirizi town council this man kidnapped them from their parent’s homes while promising to take them to kampala that he has got them jobs which are going to give them good money but he put the girls in Mbirizi he started giving them alcohol and started harassing then sexually and in the evening he take them in bars in Mbirizi to practice sexual worker and “karaoke” and he earns money.” Kalanda narrated.

In a recent crackdown on human trafficking, police in Masaka together with OKOA arrested several suspects and rescued over 100 victims.

"We have been working tirelessly to combat human trafficking in the region, and this operation is a significant success," said Alfred Bagambaki, the police spokesperson for Masaka.

According to David Kalanda, the director of OKOA Refuge Uganda, the operation was carried out after a thorough investigation into the rampant human trafficking cases in the area. Alfred Bagambaki notes that the operation has helped to disrupt the human trafficking syndicate and rescue victims.

Statistics from the auditor's report show that human trafficking cases have increased from 421 in 2021 to 1,200 in 2022.

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