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UNODC Cooperating with Airport Officers to make Entebbe Airport a Trafficking in Persons Free Zone

Entebbe (Uganda), 15 April – Last week, UNODC combined the expertise of two of its programmes – the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme and the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) to organize a specialized inter-agency training workshop on combatting Trafficking in Persons (TIP) for airport officers (4-7 April) in Entebbe, Uganda.

Uganda is a source, transit and destination point for victims of TIP. Men, women and children are all vulnerable to TIP in Uganda – particularly through Entebbe International Airport – however the majority of the transnational TIP victims are women between 20 and 30 years old. Most victims are trafficked by means of fraud, deception, debt bondage, abduction and abuse of positions of vulnerability. The most common forms of exploitation are exploitative labour including domestic work, and sexual exploitation through forced prostitution and child sexual exploitation.

The 4-day workshop brought together officers based at Entebbe International Airport from the police (criminal police, Anti-Human Trafficking unit, anti-narcotics, and INTERPOL), civil aviation, immigration, port health, airlines, ministry of gender, labor, and social development, as well as representatives of the prosecution and civil society organisations (CSO).

Through presentations by UNODC experts, dialogue with Airline companies such as Uganda Airlines and Kenya Airways, group discussions, the participants were made aware of the responsibilities of each other’s roles, as well as challenges and opportunities in combatting TIP at Entebbe International Airport. They have also proposed concrete ways to strengthen inter-agency cooperation at the airport and with CSOs to better protect victims and combat TIP networks. Recommendations include for instance reviewing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and raising awareness on TIP at the airport.

On the last day, UNODC organized a live simulation of an airport waiting area, during which the participants observed a crowd of actors acting as passengers, a trafficker and a victim of TIP. The officers had to cooperate to identify the trafficker and the victim, as well as ensure protection of- and refer the victim, and interview the trafficker. The objective of the simulation exercise was to foster enhanced inter-agency cooperation for all stakeholders involved in TIP cases at the Airport.

During the closing, high level officials of the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), remarked upon how the training has created an inter-agency team of ambassadors against TIP. UCAA has additionally encouraged the establishment of a multi-agency unit to counter TIP through AIRCOP.

Further, the workshop builds upon a regional meeting organized by UNODC in November last year, where more than 70 airport law enforcement officers, TIP-specialized police officers and prosecutors, from East Africa (origin, transit), the Middle East (transit, destination) and the Gulf (transit, destination) engaged in discussions for three days on the challenges in detecting, investigating and prosecuting TIP when committed by air.

AIRCOP aims at strengthening the capacities of international airports to detect victims of TIP and intercept high-risk passengers and illicit commodities. AIRCOP facilitates communication and coordination between origin, transit and destination countries to disrupt cross-border illicit flows and criminal networks.

The BMM programme aims at improving the management of safe, orderly and regular migration in the Horn of Africa and to support national authorities in countering TIP and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) within and from the region. UNODC focuses extensively on supporting Member States to align their national legislation on TIP and SOM with the provisions of UNTOC and the Protocols, and to enhance the capacity of criminal justice practitioners to effectively investigate and prosecute TIP and SOM cases with a victim-centered and human rights-based approach.

Uganda is one of the last East African Member States yet to ratify the TIP and SOM Protocols.

The BMM Programme and AIRCOP are implemented within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2022) – Promoting the Rule of Law.


Click here to see the UNODC Global Trafficking in Persons Report (2020).


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For more information please contact:

Mr Johan Kruger (

Head of Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes

UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa