Institute Special Counsel Supports Arrests and Charging in Ugandan Child Trafficking Cases

By: KELLI L. ROSS

In recent months, there has been an increase in child sacrifice cases as a form of child trafficking in Uganda. The Institute’s Special Counsel in Uganda Tyler Dunman has supported the work of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Ugandan Police Force to arrest and charge suspected traffickers in two separate cases involving five-year-old girls.

“In my more than 13 years as a prosecutor, these cases have to be the most egregious that I have seen or worked on directly,” Dunman said. “These are tragic circumstances and heartbreaking situations for these innocent and vulnerable children. I am grateful to work with the Ugandan police and prosecutors to respond with swift action to get these traffickers arrested, charged, and in jail where they belong. We will continue to work together to push these cases along and pursue justice for these victims.”

Uganda’s Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (2009) includes human sacrifice and removal of organs or body parts for sale or for purposes of witchcraft, harmful rituals, or practices as types of human trafficking exploitation, which are prosecutable under Ugandan law.

These cases may be difficult to read.

Case #1
A suspected trafficker was arrested and charged with Aggravated Trafficking in Children after he killed a child as part of a human sacrifice ritual. Police allege the 22-year-old suspect abducted a five-year-old girl from her home in the Masaka region of Uganda on September 13, with the intent to sexually exploit and kill her. Initial evidence shows that after abducting the child, the accused raped and then beheaded the girl as part of a child sacrifice ritual. The Ugandan Police Force arrested the suspect when he attempted to deliver the head of the child to a government official. Dunman worked with police and prosecutors to properly charge the suspect and to identify and secure critical evidence in the case. The child trafficker remains in a Ugandan jail, charged with aggravated trafficking in children, murder, and aggravated defilement (rape), all capital death eligible offenses. The case was adjourned to October 12, 2020, for mention.

New Vision reported on this case on September 25, 2020.

Case #2
A witch doctor and several others were arrested and charged with Aggravated Trafficking in Children and related offenses after a child was killed in a child sacrifice ritual. Near the city of Fort Portal in western Uganda, it is alleged that a witch doctor and two others lured a five-year-old girl from her home with the intent to traffic her for the purpose of conducting witchcraft rituals on the child. The child’s parents reported her missing and shortly thereafter, police located the child’s body in a pit toilet. Several accomplices were arrested and charged for their involvement in the incident and for attempting to destroy evidence. Although the witchdoctor fled the area, he was recently captured by police. Dunman assisted police and prosecutors with properly charging all six individuals under Uganda’s Prevention of Trafficking in Persons law. The witch doctor was arrested on September 30.

New Vision reported on this case on September 24, 2020.

About the author

Kelli serves as Chief of Staff and Director of Communications at the Human Trafficking Institute. Her background is in journalism, public relations and peacebuilding. Prior to joining the Institute, she was the Communications Officer / Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Lwala Community Alliance in Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in Washington, D.C., directly supporting the Bureau’s Assistant Secretary; as director of communications for microfinance organization Five Talents in Vienna, Virginia; and as business reporter at The Jackson (TN) Sun. She has worked and studied in Kenya, South Sudan, Liberia, India, Peru, and Israel. Kelli holds a BA in communication arts from Union University and an MS in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Kelli Ross

Kelli Ross

Kelli serves as Chief of Staff and Director of Communications at the Human Trafficking Institute. Her background is in journalism, public relations and peacebuilding. Prior to joining the Institute, she was the Communications Officer / Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Lwala Community Alliance in Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in Washington, D.C., directly supporting the Bureau’s Assistant Secretary; as director of communications for microfinance organization Five Talents in Vienna, Virginia; and as business reporter at The Jackson (TN) Sun. She has worked and studied in Kenya, South Sudan, Liberia, India, Peru, and Israel. Kelli holds a BA in communication arts from Union University and an MS in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.