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Parents or caretakers who force children to go and beg on the streets could soon face up to five years in jail if convicted.
Legislators are pushing for a law that will see parents who force their children to the streets to beg or hawk, get a minimum of five years jail term.Speaking to press during an open day ahead of the Day of the African Child, Betty Amongin, Oyam South Legislator, noted that more frequently, parents were forcing their children to beg or hawk as a source of income, yet the children are supposed to be in school.

The MP, who is also Chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association,pointed out that although the Children Act 1989 advocates for the protection of children, there are no specific clauses that hold parents responsible or punishable for letting their children succumb to street life.

Amongin who was representing House Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who had been invited as key guest, said street hawking has seen children as young as 7 years on the streets at odd hours. The children often exposed to harmful practices such as child labour, abuse, and neglect. She added.

Commenting on the subject, Kiiza Martin, Secretary General to the National Council for Children, said the council is currently carrying out a census on the number of street children in Kampala and its environs.

Kiiza said most children are forced on the streets because of mistreatment and neglect at home or among relatives, but since enforcement of laws protecting children is still weak the children are subjected to a harsh environment and rendered vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse.

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