Kampala — Catholic nuns have asked government to immediately halt the exportation of labour to abroad and identify opportunities in the country that offer alternative employment to citizens.
The nuns under their umbrella body "Association of Religious in Uganda" said they are against exporting Ugandans to offer labour abroad because no one knows whether they will return or not.
The recommendations followed a four-day conference attended by nuns from different parts of Uganda and some countries in Africa such as Ghana, DR Congo, South Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya and Burkina Faso.
Sr Teresa Namataka from Mary Kakamega in Kenya while reading a press statement from the executive secretary general of the association, Sr Margret Kubanze, said the government has been giving an excuse of acute unemployment as the major factor of exporting Ugandans outside the country.
She said there are very many employment opportunities in Uganda which if well utilised by government through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, will generate jobs for citizens.
She asked government to put a ban on trafficking of girls and also amend the laws by introducing stringent penalties.
"Human trafficking is dehumanising. It exposes our sisters and brothers to untold torture, sexual abuse and slavery. Some of our daughters are trafficked abroad and forced to have sexual intercourse with animals, while some are killed for organ transplant. For those lucky to return home, the trauma they have suffered incapacitates them and makes them social misfits," Ms Namataka said.
She added: "Exportation of labour has negatively impacted on our national image and growth. Sending our people to slave labour in those countries reinforces the mentality that Africans are slaves regardless of their education."
Sr Namataka said they will petition the Speaker of Parliament on December 3 over the matter.
Sister Lily Dricisu, from the Missionary Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, said the government should amend the labour exportation law and include huge compensation to Ugandans who lose lives while working abroad.
When contacted, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development, Mr Pius Bigirimana, declined to comment saying he has been out of the country.
Effort to reach the government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo, were futile as he did not answer our repeated calls.