By Jeff Andrew Lule
All Ugandans using social media platforms, especially WhatsApp, have been advised to always desist from the habit of forwarding messages to friends or other WhatsApp groups to avoid providing wrong information.
The deputy national coordinator of Prevention of Trafficking in Persons at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Agnes Igoye said all forwarded messages must be verified first by the sender before sending, to avoid exposing other people to traffickers and other criminals.
“Don’t just forward any opportunities that you come across. It is dangerous and can put many in danger. You always need to first verify that information before forwarding it to friends and other social media groups,” she noted.
Igoye who was addressing journalists at the weekly joint security briefing at the police headquarters in Naguru and Kampala suburb on Monday (July 25), said they have noticed that some traffickers are using technology to waylay their unsuspecting victims.
She said this year’s celebration of the World Day against Trafficking in Person, is focused on technology.
Uganda is to celebrate World Day against Trafficking in Persons at the Entebbe International Airport on July 30.
“This year’s celebration is all about the use of technology. Technology has brought us massive benefits but has also brought in challenges because even traffickers use technology,” Igoye observed.
She cited that during the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a lot of activity especially to do with the sexual exploitation of children online.
“Many young people were being recruited via social media. You know, this forward! People have groups on WhatsApp. So if you are the kind who just forwards; when you see an opportunity, and you just forward to a whole group, when we are investigating and you forward things you don’t know about, we also come for you because you have forwarded something you have not verified,” he said.
She urged the public to desist from forwarding opportunities without crosschecking whether they are right or wrong.
Training of airport staff
Igoye said as part of the moves to fight trafficking in persons, her department has trained all stakeholders at the airport on how to detect and identify traffick victims.
“Because we do want to hear that I didn’t know because the training includes how to identify victims of trafficking because many of them can’t know that they are victims,” she noted.
She said the training has already shown results with more registered offloads at the airport.