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Angelina Atyam

Uganda , Class of 2005

Angelina Atyam

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Angelina Atyam’s fight to combat human trafficking was personal: the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) abducted her daughter.

In 1996, Angelina Atyam received word from a friend that the boarding schooher daughter attended had been the site of a raid by the LRA. When she went to the school, she found out that was true, and that her daughter had been abducted. A day later, her daughter was not among the children that were released, and she feared the worst. It was eight years before she would be re-united with her. She co-founded an organization called the Concerned Parents Association (CPA), which worked throughout northern Uganda to establish centers for the children who had escaped LRA control. These children were traumatized, and often in poor health. Some of the girls, who had been held as unofficial “wives” and repeatedly sexually assaulted, were infected with HIV. She advocated all across the world, in the United States, in Europe, and at the United Nations, building awareness of the LRA and what it was doing to the children of Uganda.

During this time, the only word she would have of her daughter was from the other children who had escaped. She learned that her daughter had two sons while in the camp. It was in 2004 that she finally received the call which told her that her daughter had escaped, and that she could see her again. By 2005, the CDA had provided a network for over 2000 parents of children who had been kidnapped, and operated a medical center for escapees. She was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" that year in recognition of her dedicated efforts in helping the parents of abducted children in Northern Uganda. Since 2004, she has remained active in the CPA, and also another organization that she founded, called the Concerned Children and Youth Organization. She sits on the board of that organization, however, she also was taking care of her two grandchildren as her daughter finished school. She retired from the CPA in 2013 because of her health.

In 2014, Uganda was listed as a Tier 2 country. It is a source, destination, and transit country for both labor and sex trafficking. While the LRA has ceased kidnappings since the Ugandan ceasefire in 2006, many of those who were kidnapped prior to that are still unaccounted for. There are several armed groups that, to a smaller degree, do still forcibly recruit children into armed service. 

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