Officials from the Directorate of Immigration in the Ministry of Internal Affairs have called on Parliament to amend the Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009, to set stringent fines for offenders.
The officials led by Col G.B Kambere, the commissioner for Immigration, made the appeal yesterday before the House Committee on Gender, which is investigating the rampant cases of human trafficking often carried out under the disguise of labour export.
The Immigration officials are particularly not happy with the current law where a human trafficker is fined only 120 currency points (Shs2.4m) upon conviction under Section 8 of the Act.
They also want Section 8(d) amended to make illegal the recruitment of persons below 18 years for external labour. The law provides that only persons below 16 years shall not be recruited for external employment.
Mr Robert Kanuma, the principal immigration officer at Entebbe airport, told the committee chaired by Mr Alex Ndezi (PWDs) that traffickers and external labour recruitment companies have amassed wealth to the extent that they are happy to pay the fine and avoid the five-year custodial sentence provided for in the law.
“The 120 currency points is not an issue to the traffickers. It translates into just Shs2.4m. Is that punitive for recruitment companies that are very rich? You have got to revisit that Act,” Mr Kanuma said.
He was responding to a question raised by Mr Ndezi who asked the Immigration officials whether they are happy with the current law on human trafficking and whether its provisions are fit to cure the current wave of human trafficking.