The dusty streets of Iraq and the gritty realities of human trafficking are a world away from peaceful Prairie Village. But they were a powerful chapter in the life story of an Olathe man scheduled to speak at Colonial Church this Sunday.As an Army Reservist in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Ted Lockwood served as Mayor of Camp Slayer — one of several camps making up the Victory Base Complex surrounding the Baghdad airport. One day, a Ugandan security guard named Samuel Tumwesigye approached Lockwood with some disturbing news. Several Ugandan women had essentially been sold into slavery to Iraqi men. Many of the women, Tumwesigye said, were going to be moved so they couldn’t be tracked.
Lockwood alerted the FBI to the situation, but they told the men the situation was beyond their jurisdiction because the women were not US citizens. Not knowing exactly what to do, but wanted to offer assistance, Lockwood made an offer.
“Tell the women that if they can make it onto the base, we’ll help them,” Lockwood told Tumwesigye.
The next day, he got a call on his cell phone. One of the women was in his office. The day after, two more showed up. In all, 14 women showed up on the base, most of them having been beaten and malnourished.
Lockwood was able to provide basic amenities for the women, and after considerable bureaucratic wrangling, arrange a process through the United Nations to return the women home.
He’ll will recount the experience and explain an upcoming Ugandan trial aimed at prosecuting the people who trafficked the women during a speech at 7 p.m. Sunday, August, 38 at the Colonial Church social hall, 7039 Mission Road. The event is free and open to the public.