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Indian held Over Human Trafficking

In their statement recorded by the Special Investigations Unit – SIU, the human trafficking victim claimed that they had all together lost about UD $ 45,000 [UGX 119M] to Nono.
Police is holding Amrik Singh Nono, a Ugandan of Indian origin for his involvement in human trafficking. Nono was picked up by police from Nansana B zone, in Nabweru sub-county recently on a tip off from residents who suspected him of being a terrorist. However, when police stormed his home, they found eight other Indians suspected to have been trafficked into the country by Nono after promising to find them jobs. They are Sanjay Kumar, Ranan Preet Singh Gill, Darshan Singh, Michael Jiwanpuri, Makan Ram, Baljit Singh, Rajpeer Kaur and Sanjeev Kumar.

Police also confiscated passports from the suspects that are currently being held by the directorate of Immigration and Citizenship control because the suspects have overstayed their visas. In their statement recorded by the Special Investigations Unit – SIU, the human trafficking victim claimed that they had all together lost about UD $ 45,000 [UGX 119M] to Nono. The victims claim that each of them paid between US $ 2500 and US $ 28,000 to the suspect to process their air tickets, visas and accommodation. Nono allegedly secured a job for one of the victims to work as mechanic in a factory in Lira but he turned it down because he was only being offered 1 million shillings.

The other victims claim they were in transit to Canada and Australia. However, investigations show that whenever the victims are brought into the country, they are deployed in businesses owned by fellow Indians where they are exploited. The arrest of Nono has thrown some members of the Indian community into panic, with some calling for his deportation. Singh Katongole, the chairman of the Singh community in Old Kampala wants Nono deported despite the fact that he holds a Ugandan passport.

He accuses the immigration department of mishandling the issue of deportation, without divulging any details. Katongole says Nono’s victims are currently being accommodated at the Singh Temple in Old Kampala. Police is considering charging Singh Nono with seven counts of human trafficking, because there is no evidence pinning on extortion and receiving money by false pretence because money exchanged hands in India. Eunice Kisembo, the spokesman of the directorate of Immigration has not yet commented on the arrest of Nono as she could not be reached by URN on her known mobile.

The arrest of Nono confirms suspicions that some members of the Indian community are involved in human trafficking. It comes just months after parliament passed the anti-human trafficking law after several Ugandan women were trafficked to China and Malaysia and sold as sex slaves. The United States of America global trafficking in humans report ranks Uganda in tier 2, a group of countries which do not comply with the minimum standards required to fight human trafficking and protection of victims of human trafficking.

 

In February this year, the internal affairs ministry designated the prevention of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) office. Two months later in April, the National Task Force and Steering and Policy Committees were inaugurated after enacting the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009.

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