International Affairs Minister, Henry Okello Oryem had dismissed claims of a slave market in United Arab Emirates involving Ugandan women. In a statement presented before parliament on Tuesday, the minister dismissed the allegations as incorrect and a misinterpretation of what is on the ground.
The minister also said Uganda's Mission in the UAE had checked and found no slave market. He told parliament that the slavery allegations have prompted UAE to raise a diplomatic protest to Uganda, saying the accusations cast the country in bad light.
The statement however did not go down well with Members of parliament who called for the establishment of a select committee to investigate the allegations.
Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala County legislator; told parliament that during the visit of the Budget Committee to UAE, they went to Jaira State where they found a Labour Recruitment Center, which for all intent and purpose resembles a well-organized slave market.
The legislator further explained that they found girls from different countries parked in small buildings where they were being offered to the highest bidder and that they also established that Ugandan girls were being mistreated, which had forced16 girls to commit suicide between February and August 2017.
This prompted the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to ask why there is no labor agreement between Uganda and UAE yet many Ugandans are working there.
She tasked Oryem to visit the alleged slave market and find out what is happening, saying that it was in the interest of Uganda and the UAE for Uganda to establish what was happening and report back to Parliament. Minister Oryem committed to travel to the UAE on Friday this week and find out the problem.
But, Jack Wamanga Wamai, the Mbale Municipality MP demanded that the Speaker sets up a select Committee to visit UAE and establish what was happening as opposed to sending the Minister who has interest in the matter.
However, the speaker ruled that she would communicate her final decision on the matter later today.