In Uganda, Harriet Nasuuna, a 38-year-old woman, has been apprehended by the army and police. She claims to work as a jobs recruitment agent for an 18-year-old Senior Three student, William Mugenyi, and the purported job opportunities are in Kenya.
Nasuuna had reportedly enlisted 179 young people from various parts of the country, housing them at her residence in Kakiri, Wakiso district.
Among these 179 individuals, approximately 98 had each supposedly paid 100,000 Shillings as part of the recruitment process for jobs in Kenya, amassing a total of 9.8 million Shillings in payments from these victims.
The remaining 81 individuals allegedly paid 50,000 Shillings each, totaling four million Shillings. This means that Nasuuna and Mugenyi amassed 13.8 million Shillings from job seekers sourced from Nansana, Kyengera, Bukomero, Butambala, Kasese, Fort Portal, and Kyegegwa.
Nasuuna claimed, “Mugenyi told me to recruit energetic young men and women for jobs in Kenya. I have been getting these people by telling one person to inform another about this employment opportunity. My boss is Mugenyi William, and is a resident of Kapeka Semuto in Nakaseke district.”
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, and Maj Charles Kabona, UPDF First Division Spokesperson, stated that information collected suggests that Mugenyi is an S.3 student at Kapeka Secondary School.
“Mugenyi was allegedly acting as an agent on behalf of his sister, identified as Carol, associated with the Humble Company in Nairobi, Kenya. Both male and female victims had converged at Nasuuna Harriet’s residence in Nampunge village, Kakiri sub-county, Wakiso district, awaiting transportation to Nairobi, Kenya,” Onyango revealed.
Maj Kabona informed the media that Nasuuna’s actions are considered a security threat and human trafficking.
Nasuuna now faces charges related to human trafficking. Local residents had raised concerns about the diverse group of youths gathered at Nasuuna’s home, speaking different languages, which indicated they were brought in from various regions.
“Further investigation revealed that the victims were being lured into positions such as waiters, waitresses, supermarket attendants, and casual laborers at St. Mary’s Coffee Company in Kenya. A total of 179 victims, comprising 99 males and 80 females, were rescued and taken to Kakiri police station for necessary arrangements to facilitate their return to their respective homes,” Onyango stated.
The victims recounted that Nasuuna had instructed them to inform their acquaintances about the enticing employment opportunity in Kenya. One victim expressed, “This job promise was exciting and the fee needed for us to get the jobs was affordable. I personally informed over 10 of my friends about this opportunity because I wanted us to go and work. We have been jobless for a while.”
Authorities have confirmed that the victims will be reunited with their families and offered support in participating in government programs.
The scarcity of employment opportunities in Uganda has led many young people to become victims of fraudulent job schemes. Some have suffered financial losses, while others have sold their possessions in pursuit of jobs in countries like Canada and South Korea, only to find themselves deceived.