The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has rounded up 166 children who have been begging on city streets.
The KCCA’s Director of Gender and Community Engagement, Mr John Bosco Bashinyorwa, yesterday said all the rescued children were taken to Koblin Youth Rehabilitation and Skilling centre, Napak District.
‘’We rescued 166 children. Majority of them are really young,” he said, adding, “Koblin is a skilling centre but they are usually taken there because we do not have any other space where we can keep them as the tracing is done,” he said.
Mr Bashinyorwa said such operations would continue but will be dependent on the availability of resources and space where the children can be kept once they are removed from the streets.
He noted that once those who were taken to Koblin centre are resettled, the team would undertake similar operations.
He said leaving children on the streets exposes them to various dangers, including road accidents and sexual exploitation, especially in makeshift shelters. He also said that these children should be taken back home so that they can enjoy their rights to protection and right to education.
“They are supposed to be in school, a street is not the right place for them to live. That is why it is important for the community in Napak to appreciate that the children are better off when they are in their own communities with their parents and they are able to go to school,” Mr Bashinyorwa said.
He said they would also conduct specific operations targeting traffickers on the streets.
“There are women who bring these children on the streets. When you look at where those children are, there are usually people who are behind them. The information that we have is that usually their mothers, who are in Napak, send the children to these women who use them for purposes of getting money from the public,” he said.
The city authorities last year estimated that about 15,000 children were living on the city streets and that on a monthly basis, at least children aged 7 and 14 years are rescued from the streets.