Women parliamentarians across Africa have called for increased vigilance by all governments to curb the trafficking of women and children on the continent.
The legislators under the Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the African Parliamentary Union(APU) in a resolution stated that human trafficking affects more than two million people annually, mostly women and children which trade, now, generates more than US$6m higher than what is estimated in illicit drug trade.
The Committee, which met on Monday, 7th November 2016 at the Morocco National Assembly in Rabat, called for criminalization of human trafficking adding that, the affected persons needed to be regarded as victims. ‘Immigration, labour, health and child protection laws must be reviewed and amended to cover all aspects of trafficking’
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt.Hon. Rebecca Kadaga said that there is need for specialized training of the enforcement agencies like the police in combating the vice which is now a soft channel of enslavement.
“We should ensure that the police officers we send out there have been trained. Are they able to detect and counter the traffickers? Are they able to identify the victims and culprits?” Kadaga said.
Kadaga also called for increased resources in national budgets to help in fighting human trafficking.
“Is there money to follow up? Let us ensure that there is a national task force and it has got resources to go and follow up these situations,” she added.
The Speaker called for stringent laws to monitor the internet which has become another channel of human trafficking where many girls have been lured into sham marriages by the traffickers adding that, “many of our girls are married on the internet. Someone marries you but when you travel out of the country to meet your partner, you are into prostitution. We need to work very hard to monitor the content on the internet.
In their resolution, the Committee added that that there is need for successful prosecutions and severe sanctions that can serve as deterrence to future traffickers. They also called for a launch of campaigns to raise awareness of victims to encourage them to come forward with the hope öf intensifying legal action.
The Committee of African Women Parliamentarians is part of the 39th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union that has been meeting in Rabat Morocco from 5th to 9th November 2016.
Uganda’s delegation to the Conference has Hon. James Baba(Koboko), Hon. Hellen Kahunde (Kiryandongo District), Sarah Temulanda Nakawunde (Mpigi District) and Hon. Geofrey Dhamuzungu (Budiope East).