“My name is Ndagire Joanita Joshirah. I am a survivor of Human-trafficking; currently volunteering with Omuti Kreativ, an organization fighting against Human and Child trafficking. It is in most cases absurd that the trafficked do not know that they are trafficked and even when they realize they are, they are still threatened by the traffickers that their contracts would be terminated.”
I would like you to know that once you’re trafficked; your consent is ‘no defense – invalid as long as you were exploited.’ That said, I’m here; not to elaborate human trafficking, but how COVID-19 has affected trafficking, the fight against trafficking and the effects thereafter; and I hope that all concerned can wake up.
Human trafficking, especially intercontinental, is now on a decrease because of the closure of the borders and even within the country, it’s at a low pace since people hardly move from one place to another. Though despite the lockdown, I’m afraid there are chances for trafficking to be on the rise since the guns are all pointing at COVID 19. It might be a surprise but yes, it is taking place behind the backs of the media and organizations that fight against this vice. The traffickers are enjoying the best of their time as work is easier now. They are recruiting for after Covid-19 movements. Has anyone thought of this? Maybe, but what if I’m right?
The other factor to consider is re-trafficking; a vice I predict will explode. I’m saddened to reveal that I’ve got more than ten phone calls of people I cannot disclose, telling me how they don’t care if they die but they’ve got to go make money. Note that once the going gets tough, people and victims’ previously trafficked, desperately conclude that life was better off when they suffered but they earned the money anyway, and so are likely to sign up for the experience again, in exchange for a fee.
Considering that many people are being cut off from work, are unemployed and those with small businesses are failing, many can no longer sustain themselves. Therefore the traffickers and slave masters are rejoicing. It’s time to recruit and to enslave, as people are desperate for a better living after COVID-19. Those who had hope lost it. Those who were earning big are earning a quarter of what they earned before.
Why am I concerned? I need that the voices of the activists are awakened and that the responsible government bodies rise and make moves, as Recruitment is already on-going and Airports are soon to flood.
Remember, after COVID-19 is a difficult time where many youths are going to be jobless and the only way to solve this, for many, is to sign up for labor exportation. The concerned parties should, therefore, ensure that the exported labor face zero exploitation and abuse. There is a need for Governments therefore, Ugandan and Others, to protect the people in and outside their borders.
‘If any country can’t let you protect your people, it’s unworthy that they import them for labor.’
Ndagire Joanitah Joshirah is a Ugandan writer and Rising Film Maker. She’s is also the first writer for #asiyathelastqueen film, a prospective feature film addressing issues of human trafficking and modern slavery. It’s a ‘post-trauma’ story of a girl who worked in the Middle East, inspired by true events. Know more about #Asiya Film HERE, and Contact Joanita HERE.