The U.S. Department of State released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) yesterday. This year, the report featured the efforts of HTI’s team in Uganda to support our government partners to continue combating trafficking despite significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When our team could not support prosecutors and investigators in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, we started a WhatsApp group to foster collaboration and provide guidance to officials as they investigated and prosecuted human trafficking cases. HTI’s Special Counsel Tyler Dunman provided daily tips for best practices during investigations and prosecutions and provided regular coaching on TIP cases. The WhatsApp group grew quickly to over 350 investigators and prosecutors sharing skills and identifying cases collectively. The group has been an essential tool in collaborating to combat TIP throughout the phases of the COVID-19 pandemic and is still in use over a year later. Last year, our government partners in Uganda protected 342 victims and arrested and charged 283 suspected traffickers—more than any prior year, despite the difficulties of operating during the pandemic.
The TIP Report is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive resources tracking global government efforts to combat trafficking and one of the international community’s most effective tools for mobilizing awareness, advocacy, and action in the fight to combat trafficking in persons. Acknowledgment of HTI’s efforts in the report shows that the ingenuity and impact of our programs are recognized by the international community.
Learn more about this year’s TIP Report, including how the pandemic impacted trafficking, and check out HTI’s shout-out on page 14 of the report here.
Read more about the WhatsApp group and HTI’s work in Uganda in our Annual Report.