By Florence Soyekwo, Uganda Country Director, Hope for Justice
The complex problem of human trafficking is not one which we can solve alone. Hope for Justice works with partners across the public and private sectors, to ensure a safe future for survivors and to mitigate the risk of trafficking within supply chains.
In Uganda, we empower families and communities to prevent, identify and report cases of human trafficking. We work in close collaboration with the Ugandan police and other NGOs, to support investigations and targeted rescue of child victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
To restore the lives of survivors, we provide trauma-informed care at our Lighthouse shelters. We work with local governments to trace the families of the survivors in our care, address the vulnerabilities to trafficking in the family and community, and set up support networks to ensure survivors are safely and sustainably reintegrated.
We support survivors with tools and capital to allow them to start their own businesses, and we introduce them to local business mentors. The private sector plays a key role in equipping survivors with skills through vocational training and apprenticeships, and providing jobs.
Success story: Vocational skills create secure futures
We took in ten survivors of international trafficking, rescued from Nairobi through a joint operation between the Kenyan and Ugandan police in January 2020.
The girls had been trafficked from Karamoja in Uganda for domestic and sexual exploitation. During seven months of trauma-informed care at the Lighthouse, we worked with the Social Welfare and Community Development Officers in Napak District to trace these girls’ families, and prepare them to be reunited with their daughters.
Through this collaborative approach, the girls were eventually returned to their homes and then began attending a private vocational training institute. Although the second wave of Covid-19 forced school closures in Uganda, in this case the school understood the vulnerability of these girls, and so sought special permission from the Resident District Commissioner to allow them to continue their skills training. The girls completed their training successfully and have been equipped with start-up capital for self-employment.
The extreme poverty and gender and cultural norms that exist in Karamoja has often meant that child survivors of trafficking are re-trafficked after being returned home.
However, we have found that the public-private partnership (PPP) approach to survivor protection and support has led to increased psychosocial wellbeing, resilience and employment opportunities. This in turn allows for sustainable reintegration, and a secure future for survivors and their families, reducing their vulnerability to re-trafficking.
In order to change lives and end modern slavery, we also work in partnership with businesses who share our goal of a slave-free supply chain, to mitigate the risk of workers being exploited by traffickers and raise awareness about human trafficking.
Slave-Free Alliance: Join us and create a slave-free supply chain
In 2018, we created Slave-Free Alliance, a social enterprise for businesses seeking to protect their operations and supply chains from human trafficking.
Slave-Free Alliance provides tailored business and supply chain solutions that prevent human trafficking. Slave-Free Alliance offers training, gap analysis, due diligence, and risk management resources, as well as support with investigations, crisis response, remediation and Slavery and Human Trafficking statements.
This blog is based upon Hope for Justice’s article in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Compendium of Promising Practices on Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Counter Trafficking in Persons, here