A Ugandan university student who was trafficked and forced to act in porn films vows to continue with the campaign against human trafficking in spite of threats.
As RNW reported on 8 July, Sunday Bekunda was lured from Uganda, along with eight other students, by a human trafficker last year and taken to Kenya with the promise of getting a good job.
The promise turned into a nightmare of enforced prostitution and porn acting for Bekunda (25).
"I decided to share my story as part of my campaign to sensitize young university students into being careful with people who promise them jobs abroad," says Bekunda, who was a second-year student at Makerere University Kampala at the time of his abduction.
Living under threat
Bekunda says he has received threats after speaking about his ordeal to the media.
"I recently went on Kingdom FM [a local radio station in Uganda] to share my story and after the show I received a call from someone who warned me that they will hunt me down for 'killing' their business," says Bekunda, who recently changed his residence out of fear of harm.
"Even the police want me to keep quiet simply because they feel I'm exposing them for having failed to arrest Charles, the man who made me go through this ordeal," says Bekunda. "Even when I first reported the case they dismissed me as a liar until I undressed to show them the blood that was running uncontrollably from my private parts [as a result of forced sexual intercourse]. That's when they believed my story."
Police accused of failing to act
Bekunda claims his repeated pleas to the police that they travel to Kenya so he could show them where the gang was holding two dozen students fell on deaf ears. "They kept telling me that they lacked money to travel there."
Bekunda now believes that the police turned him down, because human trafficking involves influential people. He also believes failure by the police to act promptly enabled his tormentor Charles to disappear from Kampala and go into hiding elsewhere.
More victims coming out
According to Bekunda, more victims have since gained courage following his disclosure to speak out.
"The other day another girl appeared on Sanyu FM [a local radio station in Kampala] to share the experience of being lured to Malaysia with the promise of a good job. But she also ended up in forced prostitution and lost her uterus in the process."
Bekunda says he is planning, together with other victims, to storm Parliament to draw the attention of MPs so that they can act to stop human trafficking.
"We believe when we [do that] the MPs will act and maybe they will come to our rescue, since the people who are involved are powerful people," explains Bekunda.
True or false
"I don't blame those who doubt my story, because the ordeal I went through is hard to believe. For those who doubt let them cross check the records from both the police and Butabika Mental Hospital where I was admitted and offered psycho-social support," says Bekunda.
"My life has never been the same again. I now live in constant fear and I find it hard even to trust close friends and relatives. But I have not lost hope. I believe one day a Good Samaritan will help me with tuition and I will go back and complete my course from Makerere University."