Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two held for selling girls into prostitution

Mwesigye and Kissekka are paraded at RRUnit headquarters in Kireka

  UGANDAN women, mainly in their early 20s, are being sold in Asian countries to work as prostitutes.

The latest victims were promised jobs in Malaysia but on arrival there, they were locked up in brothels and forced to peddle their bodies, the Police has revealed.

The deception, which culminated in the death of two of them, is a chilling tale of how two men in custody and their accomplices took advantage of desperate Ugandan girls.

According to the Police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, Dalvin Mwesigwa, 25 and Frank Kato alias Ashraf Kisseka connived with a Nigerian woman, Shade Pretty, to dupe the girls.

Held at the Rapid Response Unit in Kireka, Kampala, Mwesigwa and Kato reportedly promised the girls job opportunities in the Asian country. Each had to pay a sh500,000 as commission to the two men.

Last November, Sofia, Jennifer and Deborah (other names withheld) received tickets from Pretty and Kato and headed to Malaysia, Nabakooba said.

"Two weeks later, Kato called Mwesigwa and asked him to look for more girls to work in Malaysia and told him that they would be employed as sex workers in big brothels.

"This time, he got three girls aged 20 to 26 from a city suburb and sent them to Malaysia. These were Brenda, Jariah and Shamim, said to be Kato's sister," Nabakooba stated yesterday.

The girls were sent to Pretty's brothel. Their accommodation was unfurnished rooms and they had to pay the water, power and food bills in addition to paying back the $6,000 ticket. 

"We were told that very soon, we would have 'customers'…..I was shocked. That's when I realised that we were brought to sell our bodies," Jariah said in a statement she recorded in Malaysia.

Suzan narrated, "…I would to be given work and shelter. But reaching to (sic), I was told to sell my body to men."

"Surprisingly, I was left in the house. There was no food and we had to beg from neighbours. I could not go anywhere because our passports were confiscated," she added. 

Jariah told the Police that as the pressure to have sex with strangers increased, an unidentified Ugandan girl reportedly committed suicide.

The traffickers were uncovered after Jariah telephoned her Kampala boyfriend asking for help. The lover (name withheld) reportedly told her to look for the Ugandan consulate. 

Jariah narrated their troubles to Hajah Noraihan Haji Mohamad Adnan, the Ugandan consul to Malyasia. On January 5, Adnan petitioned the country's director general of immigration.                 

"I would like to raise the attention of the authorities of Malyasia that there is a syndicate of human trafficking (sic) bringing ladies from Uganda to come to Malyasia on the pretext of giving them jobs, inclusive of housing," Adnan wrote.    "….On arrival, the girls found that there were no jobs. They were asked to pay RM1, 000 per week. The girls were informed that the only way to repay all these monies were (sic) to do prostitution."

The letter was copied to the Ugandan authorities. Subsequently, Malaysian police stormed Venice Hill and rescued Jariah and Suzan, who have since returned home. But the girls said some unknown number of young women at the brothel fled.

In Kampala, Nabakooba said, a team picked Mwesigwa and Kato from Namasuba, a city suburb.

Kato yesterday denied having prior knowledge of trafficking the girls for sex.

He insisted they were to work in hotels where they were to make a fortune. Kato disclosed that he met the girls' employer on the Internet. 

Nabakooba yesterday announced that they were working with Malaysian authorities to trace the other victims and arrest the culprits.

The Police also said another unidentified Ugandan girl was pushed off the fifth floor of a building amid a row with a brothel owner. Another group based in Kampala is also reportedly dispatching girls abroad, where they become prostitutes.

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