KAMPALA – The Judicial Training Institute (JTI) with support from Rehab Uganda held a dialogue with Judicial Officers on the Prevention Of Trafficking In Persons Act, 2009 (PTIP) and regulations, 2019, Child trafficking and Migration (CTM) investigations, Child protection and Rights approaches.
The half day Dialogue that was held under the theme, “Empowering Courtrooms to Intentionally Create Safe Spaces and Observe Protection of Victims of Trafficking and Abused Children” attracted
15 Judicial Officers.
The Executive Director of the Judicial Training Institute, Justice Damalie N. Lwanga, made a presentation on incorporating advocacy and interventions at the Judges and Magistrates level towards PTIP.
Justice Lwanga said Trafficking in Persons is a unique offence because it is continuous until it is disclosed or reported.
On the need for corroboration of evidence she said, “courts should have discretion to analyse and decide which child’s evidence requires corroboration and also advocate for cases of internal human trafficking to be tried by a special court since majority of Trafficking victims are vulnerable women and children.”
Further, the Judge urged the Judicial Officers to handle cases of trafficking very carefully because of the vulnerability of the victims who require protection, support and assistance so that they can cooperate during the legal process and testify well in court.
The country manager of Terre Des Hommes, (funders of the dialogue), Mr Yesiga James, noted that some court processes have caused many children victims to feel as though they are not protected enough.
He appealed to the participants to ensure that cases involving children are heard in camera as a way of protecting the victims from more trauma and that if the facts of the case warrant a maximum sentence, then it should be given.
The Deputy Registrar Research, Godfrey Kawesa, said the major objective of the dialogue was to streamline avenues through which Judges and Magistrates can collectively advance victim responses in line with prevention of Trafficking in persons and child protection approaches especially in children.
He commended the partners for funding the dialogue and encouraged those in attendance to participate fully as child trafficking was a serious issue.
Participants were taken through trends and dynamics of Trafficking in persons and how trauma affects victims/survivors as well as representatives the Legal framework/ experience in court on representation of victims of trafficking in court.
Other facilitators of the Dialogue included; Mr Damon Samara (Consultant UCRNN), Ms Annette Kirabira (Executive Director Rehab Uganda), Mr Tyler Dunman (Special Counsel to the DPP) from the Human Trafficking Institute and Ms Monique Kayamazima (Legal Officer, Willow International).
About Rehab Uganda
Rehab Uganda is an NGO that seeks to restore the self- image of girls affected by sexual exploitation and human trafficking with a focus of empowering them to protectively engage in personal transformation.