Five people have been arrested in Kampala, on suspicion that they trafficked 30 Burundian women into Uganda. The five were arrested by a joint security team comprising crime intelligence, anti-human trafficking detectives and transnational crime investigators.
The security team launched a hunt for suspected traffickers on Easter Sunday after receiving an intelligence tip that several Burundian nationals had been trafficked into Uganda. The team was given a list of five men allegedly led by one Joseph Garuka, who was later found inside a hotel room at Martin Road in Kampala.
Charles Twine, the spokesperson of criminal investigations directorate has that Garuka was found in a room with two female adults who have since revealed that he was sexually exploiting them. Upon his arrest, Garuka led the security team to a house in Bulenga where 30 girls were found locked with no means for an exit.
The house which had been locked with heavy padlocks was later opened by a person called in by Garuka.
“When we opened the house, we found 30 females all from Burundi locked inside. These people were trafficked here and were going to be given to unscrupulous labour exporters to illegally take them to Arab countries,” Twine said.
The girls have been taken to Bulenga and Old Kampala police stations where they are currently recording statements. Most of the girls speak French, Kinyarwanda and Swahili. Police have mobilized their personnel who are well conversant with the girls’ languages in order to properly record their statements.
One of the detectives said locals have revealed that Garuka was being feared by local leaders since he posed as a security connected person. For this reason, no one dared to question where he was getting the females. In addition, Garuka and his accomplices would ensure that the girls do not associate with anyone from the neighbourhood.
“We also got information that he was sexually exploiting them. He would go to Bulenga, pick a girl of his choice. Even at the time of arrest, he was with two girls in his hotel room. These are victims we will need to properly testify in court and we shall ensure justice is dispensed,” Twine said.
Police surgeons has started to examine the girls to establish the gravity of sexual abuse the victims have been subjected to. Police have warned that should it be established that Garuka and the group have infected them with diseases such as HIV, the charges could be amended.
Last month, anti-human trafficking detectives arrested a woman accused of defrauding 200 girls of over Shs. 90 m in fake job promises. She was identified as Jumia Kamwoka who security arrested from Komamboga, Kawempe division with girls picked from various parts of the country on promises of securing for them jobs in Kampala city.
The victims had been exploited under Alliance in Motion Global Uganda Limited. Girls told police that they were charged Shs. 450,000 each in order to secure jobs that would pay them 650,000 to 1 million Shillings per month.
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