By Melanie Nathan, Aug 02, 2023, Executive Director african Human Rights Coalition and Country Conditions Expert Witness for asylum seekers from African countries, to include Uganda.
We are receiving numerous accounts of BLACKMAIL occurring through social media platforms such as Facebook. Opportunists are taking advantage of the heightened anti-LGBTQI conditions since President Museveni signed the Kill the Gays Bill (AHA 2023) into law.
LGBTQI+ people are being intentionally entrapped by straight people pretending to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. This is a consequence of the new Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 of Uganda which is being used by opportunistic criminals who are defrauding the LGBTQI+ community.
The blackmailer gets into a LGBTQI+ private Facebook page under the pretense of being LGBTQI+. The blackmailer goes to great lengths to build trust with an individual, even over a period of time. Then when enough "evidence" is accumulated which can prove the victim to be LGBTI+ through meeting in person, providing personal information or through communication exchanges, the threats and blackmail begins and does not end until the person is broke, beaten or arrested.
We have received direct reporting with evidence of several such cases. AHRC is warning LGBTQI+ people in Uganda and other criminalizing countries to absolutely avoid making associations over the INTERNET. Even with people who you believe you have built a trust relationship with. AHRC now has several LGBTQI - mostly lesbians in hiding or who we have helped to flee the country, all under very dangerous circumstances.
In one case when the victim could no longer pay the blackmailer, the blackmailer reported her to the police and informed members of the community where the young woman lived that she is a lesbian. The neighbors showed up and threatened to beat her and turn in to police to arrest her for being a lesbian. She fled immediately thereafter, believing the intention of neighbors to return and carry out their threat to beat her if she did not leave. She left with her documents and the shirt on her back. She is now forcibly displaced - yet another victim to this insidious atmosphere - all a direct cause of criminalizing human sexuality and gender identity. This is one of many verified situations in the country right now.