Abject Poverty Accelerating Number Of Children On Streets

BobiThe high levels of poverty in some societies in Uganda have been blamed for the increased number of children on the streets of Kampala. The revelation was made by Anslem Wandega, the Executive Director, African Network for the Prevention and Protection against child abuse and neglect (ANPPCAN-Uganda) who noted that although family breakdown too is a major cause of the increased number of children on the streets, the high poverty levels has forced some parents to send their children on the street to beg in order to earn a living. Wandega was speaking during the commemoration of the International Day of street children on Friday last week at Chogm ground in Kampala. “The high levels of poverty have seen more children join the streets, most of them are motivated by the money given on the streets. This exposes these children to sexual and economic exploitation like child labour and human trafficking.” Celebrated under the theme; “If the whole world was listening, what would you say” members in the civil society organisations noted that the plight of the children on the streets hasn’t been taken seriously in society. Information obtained by Red Pepper indicates that approximately 100million children are currently living on streets, with Uganda accounting for about 10,000 children on the street and 6,000 of these in Kampala alone. Further details indicate that 16children join the street daily and these spend as long as 7years on the streets. “A recent mini-survey conducted among selected children living on the street show that 76% of the children who were interviewed joined the street below the age of 13 and 51% had stayed on the streets between one to seven years. This shows that problem of street children is something that needs serious attention. Napak district in Karamoja region accounts for the highest number of children on the street a trend experts explain is caused most of the children being trafficked by criminal gangs for economic exploitation. “Families from Napak give up their children, for purposes of begging in exchange for 20,000 shillings a month. This means, a person trafficking 100 children would makes Shs. 2 million a month and in a year, such a person makes Shs.24 million. Wandega argues that whereas generosity of giving money to these children is a religious virtue, these children aren’t helped in the long run thus the need to stifle the human trafficking incentives that are encouraging human trafficking. However, the former street children decried the harsh treatment they suffer under the hands of KCCA and Police saying that these law enforcers wrap them in sacks and beat them up. Harriet Mudondo, the director gender community and production at KCCA while responding to these allegations denied knowledge of such harsh treatment from KCCA enforcers but rather said that most of these children put up fights and resistance which provokes the officers to handle them aggressively. “At KCCA, we plan to increase street patrol as a strategy to ensure that no child is on the streets because this exposed them to cases of child trafficking, sexual harassment. The public too will me sensitized on benefits of responsible parenting and discouraged from giving money to these children.

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One thought on “Abject Poverty Accelerating Number Of Children On Streets”

  1. KCCA needs to be reminded that grabbing and bundling these kids on trucks to kampirigisa will not solve the street children menace. Rather can the causative factors be linked to this problem be addressed?

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