“[The partnership between the Human Trafficking Institute and the DPP’s office] is one of the best things that has happened to my office. It has helped us identify hiccups. It has helped us consolidate our work between the two departments. It has helped us set goals.”
– MIKE CHIBITA, Director of Public Prosecutions in Uganda
Uganda lies at the heart of the African Great Lakes region, bordering South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda also sits on the shores of Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria. Its centralized location makes it an important economic destination in the region. Uganda is a former British colony that gained independence in 1962.
Sex trafficking and forced labor are both major problems in Uganda. Traffickers force their victims to work in a variety of industries or to engage in commercial sex. Uganda’s 2009 Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act prohibits all forms of human trafficking. However, specialized human trafficking enforcement expertise is required for the law to realize its potential.
The Institute has met several senior Ugandan leaders, including the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Justice of Uganda, the Speaker of the Parliament, the Head of Uganda’s Interagency Coordinating Mechanism on Human Trafficking, and the Inspector General of Police. Each described a need for specialized human trafficking units equipped with the skills and tools necessary to be effective.
Ugandan officials are taking steps to bring tangible hope to victims of human trafficking. The Institute is helping Uganda lay the groundwork to improve the effectiveness of trafficking investigations and prosecutions in Uganda.
- At the invitation of the Chief Justice, the Institute led a large-scale training for 175 judges, police, and prosecutors in Kampala in June 2017, and produced a series of recommendations to be approved by the Ugandan government.
- The Director of Public Prosecutions of Uganda entered into a formal partnership with the Institute, allowing the Institute to embed one of its lawyers in his office.
- The Institute hired experienced lawyer Tanima Kishore to serve as Special Counsel in Uganda in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
- The Director of Public Prosecutions selected 10 prosecutors to receive specialized training in human trafficking. In October 2017, the Institute traveled to Kampala to provide this training conducted by an international team of experienced human trafficking prosecutors and investigators.
- The Director of Public Prosecutions of Uganda designated one of his prosecutors as a coordinator for all human trafficking cases in the country.
- At the invitation of the Chief Justice, the Institute conducted a large-scale training on human trafficking for the Ugandan Judiciary in March 2018.
- The Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the Inspector General of Police committed personnel to attend the Institute’s 2018 Global Human Trafficking Academy in Virginia.
- The Institute renewed its agreement with the Public Prosecutions Office.
Our goal is to empower Ugandan officials to make significant progress in stopping traffickers and sparing victims from the trauma of trafficking. In partnership with the Institute, we believe that in the next few years Uganda could become a regional leader in East Africa.