The government through ministries of Internal Affairs and Gender, Labour and Social Development has announced the suspension of 11 external labour recruitment agencies over gross forgeries, human trafficking and extortion.
The Ministry said some companies had their licences terminated after expiry and over forged documents, while others were suspended for illegally charging prospective recruits without securing jobs for them.
Others have instead been punished for engaging in trafficking and other offences.
For example, KHM International Consultants Ltd, Supreme Link Ltd, JAG Security Ltd had their renewal terminated for breaching labour externalization protocols including engaging in trafficking and submitting forged tax clearances.
These were also accused over accumulated claims of refund/extortion.
Others include Ayimal Safer Ltd, Doxa Connections Ltd, Precision International Ltd, African Manpower Ltd, AlSultaan Recruitment Ltd and Forward International Ltd.
Also suspended is RAB recruitment Company Ltd.
In an internal memo issued Monday, August 10, Mr. Silver Godwin Muleele the External Employment Unit (EEU) in the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development said directed all government departments not to process any work pertaining to the suspension of the notorious companies until further notice.
All the companies whose contracts have been terminated had several complaints lodged against them by victims or relatives of victims who were suffering in foreign countries.
It is understood the banned companies have numerous cases of forgeries, human rights violations, smuggling and suffering of Ugandans taken to serve as domestic workers in countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman and UAE.
CID director, AIGP Grace Akullo, in her 2020 crime report indicates that 482 people were victims of transnational trafficking.
Of these, Dubai was the leading destination with 257 victims while Kenya and Oman came second and third with 165 and 39 victims respectively.
“Labour remains the biggest form of exploitation for trafficking in persons. This is driven by the large population of unemployed youth and the increased demand for cheap labour in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Jordan among others,” Akullo states.
Labour recruitment firms are regulated and monitored by the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, which is the regulating body that ensures every company is licensed to externalize labour.
Data from Bank of Uganda shows that Uganda has tremendously benefited from remittances from the Middle East, which increased from $51.4m in 2010 to $309m by 2018.
As of 2018, the region contributed 23 per cent of the remittances, up from 7 percent in 2010.
A UAERA 2020 report indicates that at least 165,000 Ugandans work in several categories in the Middle East.
Also, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports show that between 2013 and 2017, the demand for migrant workers in the Middle East increased by 5.2 per cent, mainly attributed to the need for workers in the construction and services sector.
Labour recruitment firms source for job opportunities from all over the world with their major destination countries being in the Middle East, where the economies are sustainable and creating jobs.