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Enlist Survivors in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking possess insights and intelligence that could prove to be game changers in counter-trafficking operations. Empowering willing and rehabilitated survivors to pursue meaningful engagement with law enforcement would almost certainly help to increase conviction rates.

KAMPALA – Human trafficking is on the rise, and a new report from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime reveals that perpetrators face “hardly any risk” of punishment. As long as impunity is the rule, the problem will continue to grow, and more people will continue to suffer at traffickers’ hands.

To be sure, most countries now have anti-trafficking laws, some with very stringent penalties. In my home country of Uganda, for example, the 2009 Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act mandates a death sentence for aggravated trafficking in children. Globally, there are 117 signatories and 173 parties to the UN Palermo Protocol on trafficking.

But, worldwide, 21 million people remain trapped in slavery, and millions of them are victims of human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation. But, as the UN report emphasizes, the number of convictions for human trafficking remains very low.

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