Most of the girls are minors aged below 14, who by law cannot be employed, nor travel abroad without parental/guardian’s consent. Only one girl is said to be 19.
Acting upon a tip-off by concerned residents in Makindye Division, a Kampala suburb, Kampala Metropolitan Deputy police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire said that the 14 girls were found at Papaya Holiday Home in Muyenga B Zone, Makindye Division. He said the older girl aged 19 claims to be a S.6 student of Namungoona Parents secondary school in Rubaga Division.
Owoyesigyire said that they were under the custody of a lady called Dorothy Ndagire who purports to operate an NGO called Maya Project, Uganda Chapter working in collaboration with another in the UK but not registered under the laws of Uganda.
“We went to the guest house and found the girls living in bad conditions and the information we got is that they were being forced to sleep with dogs,” said Owoyesigyire, adding that the girls have since refused to give information regarding where they came from and even their particulars.
Oweyesigyire revealed that the police have arrested and detained Ndagire amid ongoing investigations and the girls have since been taken to a home awaiting information regarding where they came from and who their parents are.
“These are children whom we cannot expose to the media, but they are currently under shelter and care of professional people who will speak to them and be able to find out their parents,” said Owoyesigyire.
He revealed that a charge of trafficking in children has been preferred against Ndagire. Immaculate Owomugisha, a social justice lawyer working as the head of advocacy at the Uganda Network On Law, Ethics and HIV/Aids (UGANET) said that the girls are being kept under shelter for safety as the police find their homes.
“The girls are in shelter as the police investigate the case and those found responsible shall be subjected to the law, but we are taking care of them as well as facilitating their health needs,” she added.
Section 5 of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009 provides for an offense of trafficking in children where a person who recruits, transports, transfers, harbours or receives a child for the purpose of exploitation shall commit an offense of aggravated trafficking in children and may be liable to suffer death. URN