The pressing issue of human trafficking, marked by severe exploitation affecting thousands worldwide, took center stage at the 2024 Global Security Liberalization Symposium in Canada. Uganda’s top diplomat, Abbey Walusimbi, emphasized the critical need for urgent action to end this heinous crime, underscoring the gravity of the global situation.
Ambassador Walusimbi, also the senior presidential advisor on diaspora affairs in Uganda, called for strengthened collaboration between Uganda, global powers, and international partners to dismantle trafficking rings. His plea resonated with the urgency needed to shield the defenseless victims, who have endured financial and sexual exploitation for decades.
Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama, representing Uganda, highlighted the importance of hospitality for migrants and refugees as a means to combat cruelty. She emphasized that Uganda’s approach goes beyond providing shelter, focusing on empowering refugees by offering them opportunities to cultivate land, access education and healthcare, and contribute to the economy. Nakadama emphasized the values of dignity and long-term stability inherent in Uganda’s open-refugee policy.
As of 2024, Uganda stands as Africa’s leading and the world’s fourth-largest refugee host, accommodating over 1.6 million refugees, including more than 40,000 asylum seekers, according to government data. Nakadama, speaking in Ontario, expressed Uganda’s commitment to recognizing the value and potential of each individual seeking refuge within its borders, highlighting the nation’s dedication to not just offering sanctuary but also empowering contributors to society.
The symposium, organized by Canadian firm OEIS Investigation and Security, covered a range of topics, including education initiatives, and cyber and cybersecurity. Niagara Falls Mayor Rick Birman stressed the imperative need for collaboration on digital literacy and robust cyber laws in an era where children’s safety is increasingly threatened by cyber predators.
During the sidelines of the symposium, discussions between Ugandan officials and Canadian government representatives explored the possibility of a framework allowing Ugandans to seek skilled employment in Canada. Officials termed the talks as promising, laying the foundation for a potential bilateral agreement facilitating the exchange of talent and expertise between the two nations.
Noteworthy figures at the symposium included over 50 high-level authorities such as Jamaican and Chadian ambassadors, Canadian police detective inspector Sharon Hanlon, Detective Staff Sergeant Brown Michael Reventar, public health entrepreneur Lisa Stark Hughes, and various legal and security experts.