Combating Trafficking of Women and Girls: Labour Externalization from Uganda to the Middle East

Author(s): Ivan Bwowe
Final project
Year of publication:
Gender and Migration, Women and Girls
Number of pages:
Supervisors: Randi W. Stebbins


Every day, hundreds of Uganda women fly out of the country to the Middle East in search of employment. They are promised “heaven on earth” to include better pay, good working conditions and life changing opportunities in the Middle East by recruitment agencies. The regulation of labour externalization by government gives many women false comfort that it is safe and therefore protected which is far from the reality. On arrival in the Middle East, their travel documents are confiscated, contracts are substituted, receive little or no payment, they are over worked, denied medical attention, physically, sexually abused, sold, killed, or commit suicide. Some are repatriated by relatives or well-wishers while other are ignored by recruitment agencies and government, left for the dead in a foreign country. The scenario above is a typical case of human trafficking, which is criminal and recognised as violation of human rights. While ending of Labour externalization is not possible, the securing the safety of migrant workers is possible. This project seeks to combat trafficking of women and girls in labour externalization from Uganda to the Middle East through strengthening labour externalization laws and ensuring enforcement of the same, building a coalition of partners to combat this form of human trafficking, improve public awareness about the risks involved, supporting the criminal justice system in investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases, comprehensive victim support and leveraging technology to trace migrant workers, enable quick and easy reporting, holding government bodies and recruitment agencies accountable, collecting data and developing gender desegregated data. The project will run for three years from 3/08/2020