Members of Parliament have asked the Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa to put in place steps to protect Ugandan workers from exploitation abroad.
Kutesa together with other officials from the Foreign Affairs Ministry had appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament over the 2019/2020 financial year budget framework paper.
Kutesa said that the Foreign Affairs Ministry was stepping up diplomatic and consular services in the Middle East due to the large number of Ugandans working there.
The minister said that emphasis should be put on the labour export companies to ensure that they take obligations of the workers they send abroad. He also said that there is need for the labour companies to repatriate the bodies of workers who die abroad.
Led by the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairperson, Hood Katuramu, MPs, however, noted that the ministry should support other government departments in signing bi-lateral agreements and MOUs with the host countries.
Katuramu insisted that Foreign Affairs should work closely with the Gender Ministry and the Internal Affairs ministry which is in charge of issuing travel documents.
He noted that some of the flaws that lead to exploitation of Ugandans are as a result of lack of inter-ministerial cooperation.
Mbale Municipality MP, Jack Wamai Wamanga, said that the Foreign Affairs ministry should take the initiative to ensure that the agreements signed favour Ugandans working in the Middle East.
Kutesa said that he is going to streamline the matter with the Gender Ministry so that labour export companies report to Uganda’s embassies abroad in regard to people they take abroad.
The foreign affairs ministry has in the past attributed human trafficking and forced labour cases on abuse of the process by criminal gangs and unscrupulous employers. The ministry also said that human trafficking is partly caused by a failure to carry out due diligence by Ugandans seeking employment abroad.
There continues to be a general outcry about trafficking of mainly women to various parts of the world, where they are sexually exploited and abused.