The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in collaboration withthe Uganda Police Force (UPF) has this week from 18th to 20th September 2023,conducted the Inaugural National Workshop on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Investigating and Prosecuting Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Cases.
The event which included representatives from all the 19 Regions of ODPP and 28 Regions of UPF was organized under the auspices of the Multi-Agency Task Force, in order to promote and oversee the implementation of the SOPs.
The SOPs were developed by the ODPP and UPF in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Coordination Office for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Financial Intelligence Authority, Willow International and Platform for Labour Action.
They were developed with support from UNODC and CIVIPOL one of the implementing partners of the Better Migration Management Programme (BMM) commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-financed by the European Union.
These SOPs are in accordance with the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009 and other relevant laws and are a tool to fight against the crime of TIP, protect the victims and bring perpetrators to justice. They also serve as a practical instrument for conducting comprehensive and effective criminal proceedings against TIP.
They bring together both reactive and proactive investigative approaches underpinned by intelligence-led and prosecution-guided investigations, including international police cooperation and financial inquiries.
Furthermore, the SOPs are rooted in a human rights-based, victim/vulnerability centred, and trauma-informed approach with a keen understanding to gender and child-focused considerations, with a primary focus on safeguarding and referring TIP victims for appropriate assistance while concurrently strengthening prosecution efforts.
Speaking at the launch, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. George William Byansi said the SOPs would enable continuous capacity building of the Prosecutors and perfect their work, standardize handling of TIP cases and lead to more convictions as a result of improved cases. Further, that the SOPs are expected to lead to more effective law enforcement.
The Director CID, AIGP Tom Magambo Rwabudongo appreciated the SOPs as work towards the transformation of Uganda, noting that education is more sustainable for transformation.
CP Julius Twinomujuni, the Coordinator, Coordination Office for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons said the SOPs would strengthen investigations and prosecutions in TIP cases.
Mr. Marco Bufo, the Regional Coordinator CIVIPOL and BMM hoped for effective use of the SOPs and pledged support in their implementation.
The SOPs shall be used jointly by prosecutors, police officers, in coordination with immigration officers, labor inspectors, Civil Society Organizations, representatives of the Financial Intelligence Authority and community leaders.