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23 Ugandans repatriated after months in captivity in Myanmar


A total of 23 Ugandans who had been held in captivity in Myanmar have successfully been repatriated.

The group that was victim of human trafficking  was on Thursday received by Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials at Entebbe International Airport.

Today Thursday May 23rd 2024, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to announce the successful repatriation of some of the Ugandan citizens who were victims of human trafficking in Myanmar.

Speaking after receiving the group, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Vincent Bagiire said the group was lured by promising them high paying jobs but ended up in difficult circumstances in Myanmar.

He warned Ugandans against being duped.

“The Ministry, working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs continues to work on preventing human trafficking through regional and international cooperation. ”

On the sidelines of the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Kampala in January 2024, John Mulimba, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for Regional Cooperation, along with  Betty Bigombe,the Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to Thailand with residence in Kuala Lumpur, met with Myanmar’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Mr. U Than Swe, to raise concerns about the safety, rescue and return of the incarcerated Ugandan citizens.

The issue came to light in 2023 when reports surfaced of about 23 Ugandans being held in Tachileik, Myanmar, after being lured with promises of high-paying jobs.

They were subsequently forced into crypto-currency scams and smuggled across borders.

Government of Uganda, in collaboration with the Uganda High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Office of the Prime Minister, initiated a series of diplomatic engagements with the government of Myanmar, leading to an agreement to release the Ugandans.

Speaking on Thursday, Bagiire extended applauded the  International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for providing crucial support, such as shelter and travel arrangements back to Uganda.

He also thanked the government of Thailand, which waived all overstay visa fees and pardoned those rescued repatriates without work permits.

“Following their release, the victims were sheltered at the Thailand-Myanmar border, with assistance from the Thai government and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Thai authorities confirmed the victims’ status as trafficking survivors, enabling the repatriation process to commence,” Bagiire said.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms its dedication to protecting Ugandan citizens abroad and addressing human trafficking with the seriousness it deserves.

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