In a groundbreaking operation, the Kampala Capital City Authority in Uganda has successfully rescued 161 vulnerable children from the streets of Kampala’s Central Business District.
This intervention is a critical step in combating child exploitation, particularly the alarming trend of using children for begging and trafficking.
This recent rescue mission follows the KCCA’s previous success earlier this year when they rescued 150 children. Since the start of 2022, the KCCA has managed to rescue a staggering total of 700 children, marking a significant effort in safeguarding the welfare of vulnerable children in Kampala.
Furthermore, they have made significant progress in securing convictions for 36 child traffickers, further highlighting their unwavering commitment to combating this issue.
Under the supervision and coordination of the KCCA, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Dwelling Places and Baana Ministries have played a vital role in assisting the authorities. These organizations have extended their support by providing food and other essential resources to the rescued children, demonstrating a collaborative effort to ensure their well-being.
These rescues could not have come at a more crucial time, as the city of Kampala is currently testing the effectiveness of the Kampala Child Protection Ordinance. Enacted in 2022, this ordinance explicitly prohibits individuals from sending children to beg or solicit in public places, streets, offices, and commercial establishments. It also strictly prohibits anyone from profiting from a child engaged in begging.
Violators of this ordinance are subject to severe legal consequences, including fines of up to 40,000 Ugandan shillings, a maximum prison sentence of six months, or both. Since its implementation, the authorities have successfully prosecuted 56 adults who have violated this ordinance.
Following their rescue, the 161 children are now on their way to a specialized rehabilitation center called Kobulin Youth Rehabilitation and Skilling Center, located in Napak District. This facility aims to provide the necessary support and guidance to help these vulnerable children reintegrate into society and lead meaningful lives.
Interestingly, many of the rescued children had been found camping out at various spots across Kampala. Common areas where these children were seen included the light junctions of Ntinda, Junja Road, Wandegeya, Nakulabye, Ben Kiwanuka, and Burton Streets.
This harrowing reality underscores the urgency and importance of addressing the issue of child exploitation in Uganda, particularly the use of children for begging and trafficking.
The authorities have expressed their concern regarding a group of children who are believed to have been trafficked from Napak district to Kampala city. It is suspected that these children are being exploited for begging purposes on the streets.
The KCCA would like to remind parents and all Ugandans about the utmost importance of safeguarding the rights and well-being of children.