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KCCA undertook an operation to rescue children from the streets of Kampala.
During this operation 194 children mainly from Karamoja were picked from Wandegeya, Kabalagala and Jinja Road and transported to Kobulin Youth Skills Center.
KCCA said the saddening sights of children, sometimes as young as five-year-old standing outside supermarkets, or by traffic lights to ask passers-by for money continues to be common in Kampala.
Majority of these children are forced to the streets to beg, using everything from addiction to drugs, to threats of violence and actual beatings by their traffickers.
According to accounts of the rescued children, they are given daily targets for their begging trips.
Child begging is controlled by treacherous cartels and mafias operating unchecked in different parts of the country.
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) through the Directorate of Gender, Community Services and Production condemns these acts of child abuse that are killing the future of the children.
Dr Esau Galukande the KCCA Director for Gender and Community Services notes that street children need help, not isolation in order to harness their full potential.
Galukande notes that one of the ways to stop forced begging is for Ugandans to stop giving handouts to street children.
“Being kind hearted is good, but often the money you give to these children is always taken by their traffickers who do nothing to help the children. We need to stop supporting these traffickers,” Galukande says.
He notes that Ugandans should think twice about giving directly to the begging children.
“The small amount of money you give to them is not kindness but encouragement for them to keep on the street begging. If there is no money these cartels won’t traffic the children from the villages,” Galukande says.
Despite the fact that majority of the children are forced into begging and on the streets, KCCA has taken its responsibility of child protection by continued efforts to rescue the children.
“We want to help these children enjoy their childhood but also protect them from exploitation and abuse. But also help them from heading for a lifetime of crime,” Galukande said.
Between March and November 2021, KCCA rescued over 400 children but the numbers still on the street are still big.
Of these, 47 have been skilled in bricklaying and construction, metal welding and fabrication, mechanics and tailoring.
Others have been reunited with their families, especially those from Napak district in Karamoja region.
The street children tend to be between 6-15 years old and are mostly boys.
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