The Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Norbert Mao has urged that human trafficking in Uganda should be treated with the zero tolerance that terrorism is treated with and handled ruthlessly.
“We must send a clear message to the world that trafficking in Ugandan children is a risky business. For instance, can you carry marijuana to China? Everybody will know you have messed with the Chinese in relation to rugs and will call your mother’s name in vain. In Uganda we have only sent a message in regard to terrorism and to this, terrorists know you can’t mess up with Uganda. If you try to practice terrorism in Uganda, you will regret it. The same should be done to human traffickers,” Mao said.
The minister was speaking during the Second National Dialogue on Ending Child Trafficking in Uganda organized by Terre des Hommes, Dwelling Places, the Uganda Child rights NGO network (UCRNN), and Uganda Coalition against Trafficking in Persons at Kampala Serena Hotel on Thursday under theme “Taking stock of the child trafficking response; Has justice prevailed?”
Nobert Mao rallied all stakeholders to close ranks and do battle with human trafficking by going beyond being concerned by getting involved.
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“I thank you for moving from being merely concerned and becoming involved. The world is not changed by concerned people but by involved people. This dialogue is a step forward. Instead of cursing darkness, you are lighting candles. It involves people who make a difference. Obviously, NGOs alone will not solve the problem. We need to be able to coordinate.”
According to Mao, children best enjoy their rights when free of the perils of trafficking.
“We need to name the companies involved in trafficking. We must be very tough on trafficking in children. We need to send a clear message that we are tough on human trafficking. Our country should start being respected. Other countries might be rich and have their oil but these are our children and we must put the foot down on trafficking,” Mao said.
James Ayesiga, the Country Manager for Terre des Hommes, agreed with the minister, adding that the problem is big but surmountable.
“Trafficking a Ugandan child is a serious crime and you will regret it and we shall start blocking the companies involved in trafficking. We have got to draw lines when it comes to child trafficking in Uganda,” he said