KAMPALA – The recruitment agencies accused by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze Bakireke of trafficking Ugandans into slavery abroad has denied the allegations before the Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), an organisation that overlooks all external labour recruitment agencies.
During a presser held on Monday, July 8 at Africana Hotel, UAERA was told that the allegations are political-based
In a televised manner, Nambooze took jabbed at Marphie International Recruitment Agency a labour exporting company which operates in Kigowa, Ntinda – a Kampala suburb.
The legislator accuses the company of having illegally recruited 23 girls who were allegedly flown back from Jordan after having been sold to the highest bidders in dollars ‘into modern day slavery.’
Ms. Nambooze says that she learnt of the dilemma from Doreen Magezi, one of the victims from Namanve in Mukono who contacted the vocal legislator, seeking her intervention to return home.
“First of all you do it for profit… Ruth what do you trade in?” Hon Nambooze quizzed the agency adding, “Don’t call it labour. You are trading people.”
Speaking at the presser, Ruth Karungi, the Direction of the accused company said that Doreen was one of the many girls that came to them in a symposium that was held at Africana Hotel and they processed everything in the right procedures for her to get a job in Jordan.
“Doreen came to our company, we processed her passport, we trained and cleared her with a pretty departure contract and she was received in Jordan,” Karungi said.
Ms. Karungi said that Doreen worked in Jordan for three months until last week when she called her that she wanted to come back home to meet her family and their agency worked hand in hand with the agency in Jordan to makes sure that she comes back just like she (Doreen) had requested.
“I personally booked her flight on Fly Emirates but she missed her flight and she was placed on AirDubai. We received her and she recorded a statement on arrival,” Karungi added.
Karungi went ahead to show a copy of Doreen’s contract, visa and her current photo to the media.
Chairperson of UAERA, Andrew Kamaraho said that Marphie Agency is a registered company by the registrar of companies with a licence no. 143. He re-affirmed that Doreen, just like the other 22 girls went to Jordan through a vetting process before saying that Nambooze’s claims are politically influenced.
Recently, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga proposed that labour exportation should be conducted by government as opposed to private companies if Uganda is to mitigate the rising cases of human trafficking.
Ms. Kadaga noted that it is unfortunate that most Ugandans who have been victims slavery in foreign countries are not registered at Uganda’s foreign missions, and that this has made it hard for the government to rescue victims.
She recounted a recent experience in Dubai where she asked Ugandans, to register with the Uganda Embassy in Dubai but all shied away.
“They don’t want to associate with the government. So how do I know how to rescue you if you don’t want to register with the Ugandan mission? You can’t even budget for them. But we are trying to allocate some money to that cause” Kadaga said.
Uganda and the United Arab Emirates signed a Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) with the aim of reinforcing their cooperation in adopting best labour practices.
The MoU was signed by Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and Jannat Mukwaya, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Uganda, in Kampala.
The agreement limits the recruitment activities of registered recruitment offices in the UAE and Uganda.