By Joyce Namutebi
TRAFFICKING in mainly girls is booming in cattle markets in Katakwi in eastern Uganda, an MP has revealed. Rhoda Acen, the Woman MP for Amuria district, said women have been selling their children to fend for their families after their husbands fled ahead of the disarmament exercise in the region.
The Government recently launched a programme to rid Karamoja and surrounding districts of illegal guns used in cattle rustling and other crimes.
Acen was addressing women MPs at a workshop on women rights under multiparty democracy at Entebbe Imperial Resort Beach Hotel on Saturday.
She told the stunned MPs that each child goes for sh3,000, during the workshop organised by the Uganda Womenâ€™s Network and funded by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Acen later told journalists that the children work in gardens and as housemaids.
Meanwhile, Joseph Orisa reports that Moroto district officials said Karimojong girls aged between 12 and 18 are sold in an open market in Katakwi as housegirls but are later turned into sex slaves.
Moroto resident district commissioner Capt. Robert Nambafu said the booming trade takes place every Friday at Ocorimongin cattle market in Katakwi.
In an interview with The New Vision yesterday, Nambafu said some unscrupulous women collect girls in Matany sub-county in Moroto district and transport them to Katakwi by bus.
â€œThese girls are lined up in the market and their buyers, mainly men, come and pick up the most beautiful girls and the rest are left out. Each girl goes for between sh100,000 and sh300,000.
â€œThe men who pick these children are mostly bachelors and widowers. The girls are at the risk of being abused sexually. When they come back, they will spread the (HIV) virus to our youth,â€ Nambafu warned.
He said authorities in Moroto and Katakwi had identified homes where these girls are being kept.
He said the sellers and the buyers would be arrested and charged with child-trafficking and slave trade.