In line with a parliamentary directive issued last week, Peace Regis Mutuuzo the state minister for gender and cultural affairs has responded to issues concerning externalization of labour.
In a ministerial statement tabled by Mutuuzo, she revealed that for a period of nine years, the number of Ugandan migrant laborers in the Arab world has risen to 83,328.
Of these countries, United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone is home to close to 30,000 Ugandans closely followed by Iraq with 19,719 labourers.
On an annual basis, she says about 600 million dollars in remittances from Middle East based Ugandans is injected into the economy.
As such, she says banning this trade is untenable at the moment.
“The migrant workers in the Middle East are contributing substantially to their families through construction of houses and paying of school fees” she argues.
However, like other trades, Mutuuzo acknowledges that this one also has not been spared by incidents of trafficking and violation of human rights among others.
The minister nonetheless rejected assertions by MP Betty Nambooze that government is aware of trafficking incidents but sheepishly looks the other way.
Mutuuzo says Doreen Magezi, one of the girls Nambooze claims to have rescued from slavery stated otherwise upon returning home.
“She was never sold into slavery at USD 3000. Had she been sold into slavery, Maphie International; would not hove procured a ticket for her return”, says Mutuuzo.
Last week while speaking on the floor of parliament, Nambooze claimed that 53 girls were stuck in slavery in the Middle East.
But the challenged the tough talking legislator to adduce credible evidence.
Meanwhile, minister Mutuuzo appealed to parliament to consider allocating 5 billion shillings annually to the Deportment of Employment Services.
This amount, Mutuuzo says is needed to establish various protection and monitoring mechanisms targeting migrant Ugandan laborers.
These measures, she says, include a one stop center for all government agencies involved in the clearance of migrant workers, notably, security agencies; ISO, ESO, and Interpol.