By Vivian Agaba
To curb the continuous movement of children from their respective homes to city streets, Civil Society Organisations have asked Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to quickly enact laws stopping the public from giving hand-outs to street children.
Anslem Wandega, executive director, African Network for the prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect (ANPPCAN-Uganda) said children and some women continue to trek city streets because they are motivated by the hand-outs they get from people.
“Some of these children and families that come to the streets are motivated by the hand-outs they get from the public and that is why some of them come back to the streets even after being reintegrated back to their families. We call upon KCCA to enact ordinances stopping the giving of hand-outs to these children and by this, we will curb the trafficking of children for economic exploitation,” said Wandega.
He was speaking during a public dialogue to commemorate the International day for street children whose theme was “If the world was listening, what would you say?
The event that took place at CHOGM Grounds, near Parliament in Kampala on Friday brought together a big number of former street children who shared their sad stories about the life on streets.
Busulwa, 12, a former street child said life on the streets is not a conducive for a child to grow up in and claimed that at times, city council enforcement officers ambush them, wrap them in sacks and take them to Kampiringisa.
Harriet Mudondo, the director gender community and production at KCCA said the authority has put in place strategies to ensure there are no more children on the streets.
“One of our strategies will be to sensitise the general public about the dangers of a child living on the street so that the public stops giving them money,” said Mudondo.
She also added that KCCA is going to increase patrolling of the streets as another strategy to ensure that no child is on the streets as this exposes them to dangers like defilement, kidnap and child sacrifice.
Commenting on the issue of wrapping-up children in sacks, she said she was not aware about it, adding that when enforcement officers are trying to get street kids off the streets, some of them put up a lot of resistance which sometimes leads to fights with the officers and that is when the children are aggressively handled.