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

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


Every day, hundreds of Ugandan women travel to the Middle East in search of employment. Recruitment agencies promise the “heaven on earth”: better pay, good working conditions and life changing opportunities. The regulation of labour externalization by the Ugandan government gives many women false comfort that travelling to the Middle East to work is safe, but that is far from the reality. On arrival in the Middle East, the women are exploited and abused with little or no payment. Some women are repatriated by relatives or well-wishers while other are ignored by recruitment agencies and the government, left for the dead in a foreign country. This situation indicates human trafficking, which is criminal and recognised as violation of human rights. While ending labour externalization is impossible, 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 the enforcement of the same, building a coalition of partners to combat this form of human trafficking, improving 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, enabling quick and easy reporting, holding government bodies and recruitment agencies accountable, collecting data and developing gender desegregated data.