Ugandan woman arrested over Asia sex trade
A Ugandan woman has been arrested for allegedly trafficking women to China and Malaysia to engage in sex slavery, as the East African country tries to stem what it considers a growing trend.
Faith Natukunda, 42, is suspected to be part of a well knit ring of traffickers that sent unsuspecting women to the Far East, where they were subjected to sex slavery.
Police say Ntakunda was arrested after two women who were sent to Malaysia were deported back to Uganda, where they blew the whistle on her illicit trade.
“The two women were arrested and held for three months in Malaysia before being deported to Uganda. They reported her to the police, who started hunting for her arrest,” police criminal investigations officer, Alex Nguda said.
Ntakunda allegedly committed the offences between June and September 2011. She is suspected to have taken hundreds of girls to China and Malaysia.
Ntakunda has since appeared before the Kampala Chief Magistrates Court, where she faces two counts of human trafficking.
She was also charged with aggravated human trafficking, a capital offence with maximum penalty of the death sentence. She is currently in remand at Luzira Maximum Prison on the outskirts of Kampala.
The arrest comes at a time when the Ugandan parliament has set up a fact finding mission to investigate the alleged human trafficking and sex trade involving citizens of the East African country.
Brigadier Charles Angina, Army representative in parliament, and who was among a group of parliamentarians who visited the Far East, asked the government to investigate and arrest the racket, which was facilitating the trips to China and Malaysia.
“It is terrible. Human traffickers take girls and sell them off to sex dealers. Their passports are confiscated. If these people are arrested, they should be forced to pay transport costs for these young girls who are stuck in China back home,” Angina said.
He said they interviewed some of the victims and discovered that their passports were withdrawn until they raised between US$4 000 and US$7 000 for the benefit of the recruiters, so they could be freed.
Uganda police claimed, Natukunda reportedly took her victims to a brothel in China, where they served for some time before later being taken to other destinations like Turkey, Thailand and Malaysia, where her accomplices operate similar ventures.
Malaysian embassy officials in Kampala recently said at least 600 Ugandan women have been forced into sex trade in the Asian nation.
Some have been arrested and are serving sentences in Malaysian prisons.