Human trafficking and sexual exploitation: Experiences of Ugandan male and female diasporic returnees in Kampala
The purpose of this study was to analyse the experiences of trafficked sexually exploited Ugandan men and women who had returned from the diaspora. The study was guided by the following specific objectives: to examine the factors that were responsible for the trafficking of Ugandan men and women into the diaspora; to assess how men and women were trafficked from Uganda into the diaspora; to analyse the lived experiences of Ugandan men and women who were trafficked sexually exploited and returned to Kampala from the diaspora and to analyse the challenges men and women returnees faced in the process of re-integrating into their former communities The study utilised the sexual subordination theory by (MacKinnon, 1987) which views the sexual act as the primary point of transfer of power by a trafficker who is assumed to be male onto a trafficked individual who is often a woman because there exists socially situated subjection of women. However, the sexual subordination theory falls short for it focuses on the male as, only the perpetrator of sexual exploitation and fails to recognize that female perpetrators and male survivors do exist. So, this study additionally uses the French feminist Simone De Beauvoir’s concept of the ‘Subject’ and the ‘Other’ to supplement the sexual subordination theory. The concept of the ‘Subject’ and the ‘Other’ conveys the multiple ways in which human beings oppress each other (Tong, 2009). A descriptive research design study design was used and a qualitative approach. Data was collected from a purposively selected sample of men and women who were trafficked, sexually exploited and returned to Uganda from the diaspora. In-depth and key informant interviews were used in collecting data. The study findings revealed that the most outstanding factor responsible for the trafficking of men and women from Uganda was poverty. Findings additionally indicated that, although both men and women were exposed to human trafficking and sexual exploitation, more women as compared to men were vulnerable to the vice due to gender-based discrimination they experience socially and economically. The majority of trafficked men and women from Uganda ended up in the Middle East where they got sexually exploited in form of forced sexual intercourse, forced prostitution, forced pornography production and sex slavery. The findings also indicated that some of the challenges faced by returned survivors were: delayed justice due to corruption, fear to report due to shame and threats from perpetuators and actual harm meted on individuals seeking justice. In conclusion, although there were more female than male survivors, both men and women experienced human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The study recommends the need for broadening the youth livelihood funds to include unemployed men and women, reducing interest rates on loans, sensitisation, increasing credit access by the unemployed; and establishing community polytechnics all over the country in order to increase skills for self-employment. The findings are a wakeup call to all the stakeholders that human trafficking and sexual exploitation of Ugandan men and women is real and continues to flourish. The unfortunate victims are robbed of their health and right to lead dignified lives. This then calls for concerted efforts by all Ugandans in addressing human trafficking for sexual exploitation. It is hoped that the findings of this study will be used by the different actors to reduce and eliminate human trafficking and sexual exploitation of Ugandan men and women.