Gulu police are finding it difficult to deal with cases of child labor because the majority of the children involved are orphans and vulnerable who have no one to take care of them.
Dennis Odoch, the District Police Commander Gulu says the number of orphans and vulnerable children who are selling and working on the streets is alarming
He however, says the majority of the children can’t be arrested and questioned since they have no one to turn to for support.
Odoch says some of the children are the heads of their families adding that, arresting them will make their siblings suffers.
Statistics from the Initiative for Community Concern Uganda, a local CBO which cares for orphans and vulnerable children in Gulu shows that last year there were 60 children in the streets who smoke banned substances, sell bottles, jerry cans and hardware like padlock for survival.
It also indicates that some of the children have parents while majority are total orphans.
Odoch says child labor is common in the region because many parents are ignorant of the law and faced with extreme poverty, which leaves them with no option but to send their children to the streets.
Jennifer Auma Odong, the program manager with Sweet Sleep, a local NGO which supports children and vulnerable communities wants government to empower families in Northern Uganda through Agricultural projects.
She says unless the different households find alternative sources of income, many children will continue being exploited.
On many occasions Gulu police has arrested children vending merchandise on the streets but released them since some of them are orphans.
A research by the International Rescue Committee IRC found that the inability to pay school-related costs was the main reason why 52% of out-of-school children were not getting an education in Northern Uganda.
Many of the children are victims of the two decades LRA war in Northern Uganda.