Uganda Civil Aviation Authority received valuable feedback from key stakeholders, the users of the facilities at Entebbe International Airport. The Authority intially issued a statement that first acknowledged the feedback on January 19, 2023 without going into specific details of actions taken, but clarifying the mandate of the various agencies operating at Entebbe International Airport.
The public has since shared more leading information through the feedback channels provided and others continued online.
A press conference was jointly addressed by UCAA and the head of the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control at Entebbe International Airport on January 20, 2023, which among others highlighted the following mitigation measures that have been put in place as follows;
In 2021, the Authority issued a directive to all airport stakeholders urging them to inform thier staff who interface with passengers in operational areas that use of private mobile phones is prohibited while on duty within the terminal building. It is only the supervisors that were expempted. While there may have been laxity in implementation of this directive, it is now being re-emphasised and is to be fully enforced.
UCAA held engagement meetings with security agencies and others to harmonise operations of the different stakeholers on departure with a view of ensuring that some functions are merged and handled more efficiently by fewer agencies to avoid duplication and multiple checks and desks before a passenger accesses the check-in counters.
It has been resolved that after a passager has gone past Immigration on departure, recalling them or offloading them for any reason would only take place with the express permission of the Director Airports and Aviation security or General Manager- EIA of UCAA.
The Authority is intensifying the playing of messages on Flight Information Display screens at the airport alerting/reminding passengers not to be compelled to pay any money to anyone in exchage for a favour at the airport.
We would like to re-assure the public that all cases/complaints submitted to UCAA with evidence will be thoroughly investigated and action taken. A number of those, which were submitted earlier were worked on and action taken, with staff found culpable disciplined. From 2020 to date, 26 members of staff from various agencies have either been suspended, terminated or subjected to other disciplinary measures.
A UCAA staff who appeared in one of the videos and appeared to be negotiating some payment was detained at Aviation Police on the morning of January 20, 2022 and is to face disciplinary action as investigations continue.
Name tags for all staff operating at the airport are to be emphasised.
Customer service training for members of staff of all stakeholders operating at Entebbe International Airport is to be emphasised.
arly next year, the government shall install two new Distance Measuring Equipment at Entebbe Airport to further help pilots navigate and land safely, Justice (rtd) Steven Kavuma, the board chairperson of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), has revealed.
“As a sign of commitment to improve safety in air traffic management, UCAA is in the process of upgrading the Very High Frequency (VHF) Extended Radio Network and it will handle installations in Entebbe, Soroti, Gulu, Masindi and Kasese in order to further improve reliability and coverage of communication between pilots and controllers,” he said.
He said this during the celebrations by the Uganda Air Traffic Controllers Association (UGATCA) to mark 100 years of the profession, held at Hotel Africana in Kampala on Friday.
Justice Kavuma hailed air traffic controllers for the great job they play in ensuring the safety and efficiency of flights in the air and on the ground.
“The advice and instructions you issue to pilots enable them to avoid collisions and ensure the expeditious and orderly flow of aircraft in the airspace. You are unsung behind-the-scenes heroes that have over the years done everything in your means to ensure passengers and cargo are safely and efficiently flown to their destinations,” said Justice Kavuma.
The Works and Transport Minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala urged air traffic controllers in Uganda to make their profession known to members of the public for many to join.
“You are our unsung heroes in air transport but you need to talk about yourselves because people don’t know you. You need to organize some programs on these media houses. That way, you will be able to attract more people to join the profession,” he said.
He further urged air traffic controllers to use their association to seek better working conditions and have their challenges addressed, but of course not through industrial action.
UGATCA president, Mr Tony Kepler Ssenkubuge said over the years, air traffic control has transformed for the better.
“It is my commitment and that of the air traffic control fraternity in Uganda to assure the world that we will continue to work with dedication and commitment to ensure Ugandan airspace is safe, secure and efficient,” he said.
The UCAA Deputy Director General, Olive Birungi Lumonya said they employ 110 air traffic controllers but expressed concern that only 12 of these are female.
She noted that recent global studies indicate that only 20 per cent of countries in the world have a female representation of more than 20 per cent.
Following communication from the Ministry of Health, the requirement for inbound and outbound passengers through Entebbe Airport to fill-in a digital health declaration/locator form has been temporarily suspended until further notice.
Reference is made to social media reports referring to a security inspection report dated November 3, 2022, which is part of an internal mechanism aimed at continuous improvement. It is important to note that security and safety reports of this nature are normal in the aviation industry, and at Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), they are conducted on a quarterly basis.
The importance of the routine inspection reports is to enable management to identify gaps and come up with Corrective Actions Plans, where necessary. Just like an internal audit report, not all issues presented in the report(s) are upheld (especially after clarification and submission of evidence).
Baggage Handling System (BHS)
UCAA has a Baggage Handling System (BHS) that is used for two purposes; to check-in baggage (convey baggage from the check-in counters to the Baggage make-up area), and for secondary security screening of baggage. The baggage conveyor component of the system is fully operational. However, the system’s automatic mode, which relates to secondary screening of baggage is temporarily experiencing challenges. Nevertheless, there are back-up measures, including thorough security screening at the primary level (first security screening on entry to departure) and re-screening of baggage using sniffer dogs, among others, in the baggage make-up area (where the BHS is located). Even when the BHS is fully operational in automatic mode, sniffer dogs are still deployed and they have proved to be more reliable.
In spite of the temporary security screening defect on the BHS, the system still serves its primary objective of conveying baggage. With the mentioned screening interventions, any security gaps that would have been created are adequately closed. In the meantime, as part of the mitigation measure, the internal team is finalizing a maintenance mechanism. Systems of this nature are like a human being. They are equally prone to developing complications that are regularly worked on, as and when the need arises.
Rubber on the runway
In relation to rubber on the touch down and take-off sections of runway 17/35, this is normal at all airports in the world because every time an aircraft lands, it leaves rubber deposits on the runway, especially on the runway touch down zone. The more landings on a runway, the more rubber deposits. However, rubber on the runway should not only be observed with the eye, but measured using Friction Testing Equipment that provides the average figures of Friction Co-efficient that will determine whether the situation is dire and has reached an alarming state or in a planning maintenance state.
Friction Tests of the runway are regularly undertaken at Entebbe International Airport. The Friction Testing machine indicates an alarming state when the Friction Co-efficient reading is equal or less than 0.35. However, the recent Friction Test Co-efficient reading from Entebbe International Airport’s runway 17/35 was 0.45, an indicator that the runway is safe for use. Whenever the Friction Test Co-efficient readings drop to 0.41, this triggers the need to undertake derubberisation. We have not yet got to that state so there is no cause for alarm.
The capacity of the Marine section is much higher than what is stated in the preliminary report. For instance, Rescue 2, which is only one of the Marine Boats in place has 6 life rafts with each raft having capacity to rescue 37 people, a total of 222 people. In addition, each life raft is designed with a survival rope all around it on which about 20 people can hold during a rescue mission. The survival ropes provides for an additional estimated total of 120. The minor issues that the boat experienced are already being addressed.
The swamp vegetation depicted in a photo is way outside of the airport’s perimeter fence and outside of the area that UCAA maintains.
A number of these and other issues raised in the draft report have since been discussed with the security agencies, and harmonized with a clear update and implementation roadmap. For the majority of the issues cited, mitigation measures were already in the process.
Entebbe International Airport passenger traffic continues to grow with 156,081 international passengers handled in August 2022 (73,899 arrivals and 82,182 departures), an average of 5,034 passengers per day compared to 4,892 in July.
The steady increase in passenger traffic according to Mr. Vianney M. Luggya , the Spokesman at the Civil Aviation Authority , (CAA) is attributed to a number of factors, including widespread vaccination across the globe, which has led to relaxation of some previously stringent travel requirements.
“The fully vaccinated are exempted from PCR test requirements at Entebbe and confidence building measures by airports, including Entebbe and Airlines across the globe have reassured passengers leading to increased travelers,” Luggya added .
Other factors for the growth in numbers of people going through Entebbe airport included -the travel by pilgrims to and from Mecca plus Ugandans traveling to the Middle East for employment opportunities. International conferences are back and tourism numbers are rising too.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority(UCAA) in 2016 embarked on a $9.5million (Shs40billion) automation process that included the establishment and operationalization of an Airport Operations Database (AODB), a Computerized Maintenance Management system (CMMS), and a Terminal Operations Control Centre (TOCC) at Entebbe International Airport.
On Thursday, the automated system was commissioned by the State Minister for Works and Transport Fred Byamukama.
Speaking at the event, Byamukama said the Ugandan government is committed to supporting and providing an enabling environment for the growth of the aviation industry in the country to spur economic development.
He noted that such projects like the automation of the airport show the commitment.
“This will help to improve on the security and safety of the airport. Now we can easily monitor the surrounding of the airport because of the automation. This will save the aviation industry the expenditures they were making to deploy people to do this job,” Byamukama said.
“Efforts towards automation of systems, especially in the aviation industry ought to be applauded because embracing modern technologies reduces human interference and errors which is key in enhancement of safety.”
Byamukama said by automating the air navigation system of Entebbe Airport, Uganda is enhancing information sharing and coordination with pilots, other airports and also fulfil compliance with international provisions.
The State Minister for Works and Transport applauded President Museveni for inviting South Korean “friends” who funded the automation project through a grant that cost shs40 billion and of this, Uganda paid only shs4 billion.
He noted that government attaches a lot of importance to the aviation industry because it guarantees the country direct international access and in turn promotes trade, tourism and social economic development.
To this, Minister Byamukama said government has concluded various Bilateral Air Service Agreements(BASAs) with several countries brining the current total to 51, 27 of which are operation with the latest ones being with Finland, Colombia and Spain as well as reviewing previously existing BASAs with Italy , Belgium and Germany.
“The opening of new routes, revival of the Uganda Airlines and the ongoing development of a second international airport at Kabaale in Hoima district are all intended to accommodate current and future air traffic.”
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Director General, Fred Bamwesigye, traffic at the airport has continued to grow as the aviation industry recovers from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He cited an example of last month ( Aug 2022) recorded the highest traffic since the lockdown with a total of 156,081 international passengers (73,899 arrivals and 82,189 departures) being handled at Entebbe International Airport.
“Airport improvements are moving targets. Whereas now we are carrying out expansion works for Entebbe International Airport to ensure the number of passengers we accommodate grows from two million per year to at least 3.5 million, we will continue to respond to pressures of expansion in the air business and move to six million passengers handled per year with time,” Bamwesigye said.
Underscoring the importance of the automation, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority(UCAA) boss said it will see Entebbe International Airport become one of the best not only in the region but in the world.
“Previously, the systems at the airport were not speaking together and we were automating them in parts. This project brought every system together so that you can see them at one touch. Air navigation systems, air traffic control systems, airport management systems, especially safety management systems and other airport systems in administration are now all synchronized and you can see each part at a go,” Bamwesigye told the Nile Post in a separate interview.
“The system is also now synchronized with security cameras all the time. You can now see what is happening in all corners of the airport in one go unlike before when we had separated systems. “
The UCAA boss said the Koreans have also trained Ugandans to use the system for effective use.
Bamwesigye explained that with time, even upcountry airports will be automated as part of the project.
Asked to explain how much will be saved by automating systems, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority boss explained that in aviation, security and safety are key, other than the amount of money saved.
“We can’t quantify in terms of money but rather in terms of efficiency . Because we are in the business of safety and security, when these improve and have very few cases of lapses, we call it a gain. “
The automation works that started in 2016 were funded by the South Korean government through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
According to the Korean Ambassador to Uganda, Park Sung-soo, the project is testament to the close relations between Uganda and South Korea.
“This project has borne testament to the fruits of collaboration between Uganda and the Republic of Korea. Ultimately, the project is aimed at enhancing operational efficiencies and enhancing passenger experience which will also improve the rating of Entebbe International Airport by international aviation standards,” Sung- soo said.
The automation of the airport means there will be real-time monitoring of consumption and use of services like electricity and air condition through the computerized maintenance management system(CMMS) and will ease the burden on Uganda Civil Aviation Authority facility management staff.
This also means that maintenance and repair costs can be reduced by automatically checking key facilities in the airport.
The automation means that staff at the Terminal Opetation and Control Centre(TOCC) can ably monitor the airport operation status in real-time, thereby enabling quick response to emergencies and failures.
The installation of the Air Traffic Services Message Handling Services (AMHS), a standard for aeronautical ground-ground communications as part of the automation means that Uganda’s aviation information processing system now meets the ICAO global standards.
The AMHS enables real-time sharing of key aviation information not only within six other aerodromes in Uganda but also with Kenya and Tanzania.
The automation has also seen the installation of an Air Traffic Control CCTV system that includes long range cameras along the two runways at the airports and covering what were hitherto, blind spots for air traffic controllers.
Also as part of the automaton ,100 outdoor and indoor cameras, two large LED boards for flight information display have been installed in the new passenger terminal building as well as two movable LED kiosks to allow passengers departing from the airport to check real-time flight information.
Entebbe International Airport has registered a tremendous increase in passengers after easing of COVID-19 restrictions
Entebbe International Airport handled 151,653 international passengers in July 2022, an average of 4,892 per day, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority has revealed. This comprised 77,056 arrivals and 74,597 departures.
This is the highest number of passengers handled in seven months given the fact that Entebbe Airport handled an average of 4,508 passengers per day in June, 4,018 in May, 4,078 in April, 3,670 in March, 3,615 in February and 3,566 per day in January 2022.
Vianney Luggya, the UCAA Spokesperson says that in the Financial Year 2021/22, a total of 1,244,604 international passengers were facilitated through Entebbe compared to 1,728,783 in the FY 2018/19 prior to COVID19, 1,355,772 in the FY 2019/20 and 580,238 in the FY 2020/21, which was adversely affected by the COVID19 impact.
“A comparison of the FY 2021/22 passenger traffic performance with that of the FY 2018/19 reflects a 71.9% recovery. In relation to cargo, 64,254 metric tones (40,961 exports & 23,293 imports) were handled in the FY 2021/22 in comparison to 62,121 metric tones in the FY 2018/19,” Luggya says.
He adds: “60,637 metric tones of cargo were handled in the FY 2019/20 and 63,978 metric tones of cargo in the FY 2020/21 (25,038 imports & 38,940 exports). Exports have consistently continued to be more than imports. The major exports include flowers, fish, vegetables and fresh produce.”
He adds that cargo traffic was not affected by the COVID 19 pandemic since cargo operations were maintained even during the 2020 lockdown. The major destinations for Uganda’s cargo produce include Europe, Middle East and the far East, among others.
Stakeholders have reiterated the need to make human trafficking a risky venture for anyone to invest in, as one of the best ways to curb the vice.
“This is very chilling crime. Human trafficking shouldn’t be something we tolerate any further. The vice has continued to flourish because we haven’t made it risky enough to be a human trafficker. Going forward, it should be extremely risky for anyone to engage in human trafficking,” said the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Managing Director, Fred Bamwesigye during celebrations to mark the international day on human trafficking on Saturday at Entebbe Airport.
The day is held annually and this year’s commemorations were held under the theme, “Use and abuse of technology.”
The Uganda CAA boss said there is need for concerted efforts to ensure anyone who wants to participate in human trafficking thinks twice before joining the business, adding that this can be done through harsh punishments to offenders.
“Quite often efforts by airport stakeholders to clamp down on the vice have culminated into arrests of these perpetuators. They are handled within the due process until taken for prosecution and even conviction in court but have always ended up getting very light sentences and penalties like attracting fines as low as shs300,000,”Bamwesigye said.
“It is disheartening to realize that after investing a lot in apprehending the culprits they end with such light punishments and within a few days, they return to start from where they ended and carry out the same crime. This sometimes demoralizes the efforts of airport stakeholders and everyone involved.”
Bamwesigye noted that because of the “small” punishments, the offenders of human trafficking become more hardened beyond redemption.
He noted the need to rethink actions to help stop the crime of human trafficking.
The State Minister for Works, Musa Ecweru said human trafficking is real and not something imagined, noting that many Ugandans and people around the world have fallen victim to the vice.
He however said the temptation for people to join human trafficking is high due to its profitability.
“I have learnt that the business of human trafficking is extremely lucrative and therefore the temptation to perpetuate is bigger than the efforts we put in to fight it. That puts us back to the drawing board. We have the laws and personnel but it takes diligent and honest people to make a difference,”Ecweru said.
He said Uganda has found itself in a catch 22 situation where there are so many youths who are unemployed and are easy to be trafficked.
“We have a very young population and one that is looking for a future in form of jobs. That level of vulnerability I what the perpetuators are exploiting.”
Technology aiding trafficking
The chairperson of the board of directors at the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons in Uganda(CATIP-U),Dr.Annete Kirabira said that whereas technology has been of great importance to mankind, it has on the other side been used to fuel crime like human trafficking.
“Technology has provided easy access to a much larger group of potential victims because traditional physical and geographical limitations no longer exist. Traffickers are currently using technology to profile, recruit, groom, control and exploit their victims as well as using the internet, especially the dark web to hide illegal materials stemming from trafficking and their real identities from investigations, “Dr. Kirabira said.
She explained that many victims of human trafficking are targeted and recruited via social media and online dating platforms where personal information and details of people’s locations are readily available.
“Sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation are taking place virtually and photos and videos sold further on different platforms to customers worldwide, resulting into even more money for the traffickers at no additional cost.”
“Traffickers are using technology to control their victims remotely and sometimes without having ever met them in person. They threaten to release intimate photos or videos of them to families and friends if they don’t comply to their demands.”
Dr.Kirabira noted there have been little efforts to make use of technology to help in combating the crime of human trafficking yet the global nature of human trafficking requires well prepared, resourced and capacitated teams to combat it.
Call to action
According to the State Minister for Works, it is high time the misconceptions by members of the public that human trafficking mostly takes place via air transport and is from one country to the other.
“There is a lot more domestic human trafficking undertaken within the country using other modes of transport. Awareness campaigns will be key in sensitizing the public, especially youths and secondary school children who are major targets of traffickers,” Minister Ecweru said.
The chairperson for the board of directors at CATIP-U, Dr.Annete Kirabira said it is high time government did something to make the use of technology safe as a way of combating human trafficking.
“We call upon government to improve safety standards in the cyberspace including developing systems , acquiring tools and capacitating law enforcement agencies to detect online criminal activities of recruitment, grooming, control and exploitation of victims,” Dr.Kirabira said.
She also urged government to expedite the enactment of the witness protection law to enhance the protection of victims and witnesses participating in the criminal proceedings of human trafficking to prevent re-traumatization.
Dr.Kirabira asked government to operationalize digital reporting channels including toll free lines as an ICT tool under the coordination office for the prevention of trafficking in persons to ease reporting of cases by the public.
ENTEBBE – Uganda, on Saturday, joined the rest of the world to commemorate world day against trafficking in persons.
The national event – held at Entebbe International Airport was organised by the government of Uganda through line Ministries of Works and Transport and Internal Affairs together with Uganda Civil Aviation Authority in partnership with a number of Civil Society Organizations led by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons – Uganda and other development partners under the theme “Use and abuse of technology in reference to Trafficking in Persons”.
According to the National Report on countering trafficking in persons for 2021, Entebbe Aviation Police registered the highest number of incidents of human trafficking (64) involving hundreds of victims. A total number of 727 victims were identified and registered during the year from various areas in the country, 297 were trafficked to Dubai, 175 to Saudi Arabia, 110 to Qatar, and 50 to UAE among others.
The report shows that a total of 1,295 persons were victims of trafficking in person out of whom 790 were victims of transitional trafficking while 475 were victims of internal trafficking and 30 unknown. The crime continues to affect mostly women who represented 55.1% of the total number of registered victims in 2021. These were followed by the children at 28.6% of which 76.8% were girls.
Officiating at the event, Gen. Katumba Wamala – Minister of Works and Transport said that holding such an event at the country’s major gateway for international passenger traffic sends a strong message to national and international audiences that Entebbe International Airport is totally against the vice of human trafficking and does not in any way condone such activities.
Represented by his junior minister, Musa Ecweru, Gen Wamala revealed that the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development also provides clearance to individuals going for employment to specific destinations, which have previously recorded high cases of human trafficking.
He noted that international human trafficking is not only one way, “as we have also had cases of people trafficked to Uganda, especially from Pakistan and Eritrea, among others. The rationale of this engagement is to enhance awareness by focusing, especially on preventive measures.”
“Besides planes, traffickers also extensively use boda-bodas, vehicles, trains and ships or boats. It is clear that the entire transportation chain is sometimes misused by wrong elements who transport the recruited human trafficking victims from the villages (where recruitment happens most) to the airport and other border points.”
Wamala added, “Many of you may have seen and read harrowing reports of how the victims of human trafficking have been traumatized, lost lives, had their internal organs transferred without authority, and undergone a lot more untold suffering. The perpetrators of the vice have ironically become immensely rich through this illegal activity hence the reason it attracts many and is difficult to eliminate.”
Nonetheless, he says with concerted efforts of “this nature, we are optimistic that the masses can be sensitized and we play our part in prevention, which Government looks at as the most important part of the campaign.”
Director General Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Fred K. Bamwesigye said that quite often, the airport stakeholders arrested the perpetrators of the vice “but have unfortunately ended up facing very light penalties attracting fines as low as three hundred thousand shillings (300,000/=) for not only human trafficking, but drug trafficking as well.”
“The two vices are a menace to air transport and have a very negative impact on society. It is, therefore, extremely disheartening to realize that after investing a lot of time and energy in apprehending the culprits, they end up with such light sentences, and back again on the streets to engage in the same bad habits of seeking more recruits since they know that even when they are caught, they can easily walk away after paying the penalties provided for in the law,” he decried.
“This is a matter that requires to be treated with the urgency it deserves if we are to make serious headway in the noble fight against the two vices of human and drug trafficking,” he called.
Bamwesigye also revealed that most of the victims have also become sophisticated as they are extensively trained by their traffickers.
“Some of the victims now use tourist visas yet they are travelling for perceived employment opportunities. It, therefore, calls for a little bit of further interrogation to eventually detect some of the victims.”
Lt Gen. Joseph Musanyufu, PS Ministry of Internal Affairs, represented by his commissioner of immigration, Col. Geoffrey Kambere said that “Uganda is a source, transit and destination for human trafficking.”
According to him, human traffickers trick victims with fake job offers and promises before exploiting them through online technologies.
“Research conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)) shows how traffickers are currently using technology to profile, recruit, control and exploit their victims as well as using the internet, especially the dark web, to launder proceeds of the crime and hide their real identities from investigators.”
“Today, the Internet provides easy access to a much larger group of potential victims because traditional physical and geographical limitations no longer exist. Traffickers use technology to control their victims remotely, sometimes without having ever met them in person. The attempt to control COVID-19 pandemic provided further opportunities for traffickers due to the increased use of the internet, especially by children at the time when schools were closed,” said Gen Musanyufu.
He commended all the stakeholders and development partners who have supported Uganda’s counter-trafficking efforts ever since the country passed the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009, saying that it has benefited the country in combatting the vice.
In her part, Dr. Annete Kirabira – Chairperson Board of Directors – Coalition Against Trafficking in Person Uganda (CATIP-U) said that every day, in every country in the world, Human Traffickers exploit human beings for profit, revealing that the poor and vulnerable are most at risk.
“Over 70% of the detected trafficking victims are women and girls while nearly third are children.”
She noted that the acquisition of digital tools and use of technology is an ever-growing trend in Uganda which gears double aged role of technology with regard to the crime of trafficking in person.
In 2019, 24.89 million Ugandans were mobile subscribers, 19 million people were internet users and 2.5million people are active social media users.
“There is no doubt, therefore, that Technology has provided easy access to a much larger group of potential victims because traditional physical and geographical limitations no longer exist.”
Dr. Kirabira says that traffickers are currently using technology to profile, recruit, groom, control and exploit their victims as well as using the internet, especially the dark web, to hide illegal materials stemming from trafficking and their real identities from the investigation.
“The report titled, ‘Disrupting Harm in Uganda’ by ECPAT, INTERPOL and UNICEF Office of Research, found that in Uganda online Platforms are increasingly being used for child sexual exploitation and abuse.”
“Further still, Traffickers are using technology to control their victims remotely, sometimes without having ever met them in person. They threaten to release intimate photos or videos of them to families and friends if they do not comply with their demands,” she added.
The coalition notes that there are some challenges in the use of technology to prevent and protect the victims; “there is limited resourcing and capacity to harness the use of technology in combating the crime of trafficking in person. The global nature of human trafficking coupled with the abuse of technology makes it even more difficult for law enforcement authorities to tackle this crime if not well prepared, resourced and capacitated for this front.”
The Coalition wants the Government of Uganda to improve safety standards in cyberspace including developing systems, acquiring tools and capacitating law enforcement agencies to detect online criminal activities of recruitment, grooming, control and exploitation of victims.
They also want Uganda, particularly the legislative arm to expedite the process of enacting the Witness Protection Law to enhance protection of victims and witnesses participating in the criminal proceeding of the crime of trafficking in person and prevent re-traumatization.
Dr. Kirabira said that the government should also expeditiously operationalise digital reporting channels (Toll-free lines) as an ICT tool under the coordination office for the prevention of trafficking in Person to ease reporting of cases of trafficking in persons by the general public.
Other Coalition’s call include;
The Government through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is called upon to review and include in the pre-departure orientation training curriculum for the Ugandan migrant workers a module on the use and abuse of technology and indicators of online trafficking of migrant workers in the countries of destination.
Increase training and resourcing for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges in the use of technology in investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cases of trafficking in person.
The Government and stakeholders should draw targeted awareness programs for the general public particularly the children, youth and parents on the use and abuse of technology to prevent and protect would-be victims from falling prey to the traffickers through online platforms.
Government should undertake research to enhance stakeholders understanding of Technology in accelerating abuse and exploitation of victims.
The private sector particularly the internet and telecommunication service providers are called upon to undertake a responsive due diligence approach to prevent the use of their services and tools from facilitating online abuse and exploitation of victims of Human Trafficking.
Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s Deputy Director General, Olive B. Lumonya and Manager Air Traffic Management, Geoffrey Okot met the South Sudan Minister of Transport, Hon. Modut Biar Yel, on July 19, 2022 in Juba and discussed issues of mutual interest in the aviation industry, including plans for search and rescue in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Uganda Civil Aviation Authority in conjunction with the Ministry of Works and Transport has held several similar workshops covering areas in the Eastern part of the country and the West among others. The main objective of the workshops mainly is to sensitize the stakeholders on how to improve the Search and Rescue services(SAR) in Uganda and enhance mutual understanding.