Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Uganda: Three convicted of kidnapping a young boy and removing body parts for ritual witchcraft practices

On March 1, 2011 a conviction was announced in a Trafficking in Persons case by the High Court in Masindi, Uganda. According to Bob Goff, President of Restore International, who participated in the trial earlier this month, this marks a monumental step in Uganda's fight against human trafficking. In October 2009, Uganda enacted its Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Act but had yet to see it utilized until this case was brought. The law prohibits trafficking in persons and body parts and creates a framework for prosecution and punishment of outlined offenses.

The accused were the first to be charged under the new law after kidnapping a young boy, removing body parts for ritual witchcraft practices, and leaving him for dead. The young boy was found near death after having his private organs removed but has since recovered and identified his kidnappers. With this conviction, a precedent for future trafficking prosecutions has been set for the array of offenses for which the accused were found guilty.

Uganda had previously stated its commitment to combating human trafficking as a signatory to numerous international conventions but maintained a Tier 2 rating in regards to the U.S. State Department Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report in 2010 and previous years. The reasons cited in the TIP report were in part, because of Uganda's failure to implement the 2009 TIP Act by prosecuting and punishing offenders. This successful conviction has brought more about than just Uganda's first successful implementation of the anti-trafficking law; it has brought national and international attention to the successful implementation by Uganda in targeting this offence against the most vulnerable in society. This case has also provided awareness of the law's existence throughout Uganda and the legal framework to successfully bring about further convictions arising out of crimes related to the trafficking of people in the country.


SOURCE Restore International