“There is no true religious leader who would fail to denounce the horror of human trafficking taking place in our country, affecting our people and undermining their dignity and rights,” Bishop Zziwa said.
The National Prayer event also seeks “to appeal for the conversion of the perpetrators involved in this heinous crime,” the 66-year-old Catholic Bishop said in reference to human trafficking.
Focusing his attention on Uganda, Bishop Zziwa regretted the fact “we have not fared so well against this scourge. Children as young as seven years are exploited in forced labor, mining, begging, herding, and agriculture. Girls and boys are also exploited in prostitution.”
“Young girls and women are targeted for domestic sex trafficking,” the Catholic Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in March 2002 as Coadjutor Bishop of Kiyinda–Mityana Diocese said, and added, “Most victims of internal trafficking are Ugandans.”
In Uganda, he continued, “Young boys and girls are the most vulnerable to internal trafficking while young women are more vulnerable to transnational trafficking, usually seeking employment as domestic workers in the Middle East and other countries.”
“It is a tragedy that in this century, notwithstanding the progress in human development and civilization, human beings still use and exchange their fellow humans for monetary gains through organ harvesting, cheap labor, sexual exploitation as if they were chattels to be bought and paid for,” the Chairman of UEC lamented.
He said that the cruelty associated with human trafficking is tantamount to the “old form of slavery”, which he termed as “dehumanizing”.
“The victim is manipulated to think that life is better on the other side but once let into the power and control of the trafficker, the victim has no choice, but to surrender to the dictates of the master or mistress,” Bishop Zziwa said in his September 9 message that Archbishop Odama read out.
He likened human traffickers to the siblings of Joseph in book of Genesis, saying victims of human traffickers are, “in most cases”, known to their victims.
“These victims are our brothers and sisters whom we know and do not know,” the Bishop who has been at the helm of Kiyinda–Mityana Diocese since October 2004 said, and added, “Moreover, in most cases the traffickers are people who are known to the victims: relatives, friends or associates.”