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POVERTY, INSECURITY, PEER INFLUENCE, AND FORCED MARRIAGES, MAJOR ENABLERS OF CHILD TRAFFICKING- KARAMOJA SECURITY CHIEFS SAY.

By Timothy Eodu

Joint Security Officials and Leaders during the meeting

The security chiefs from the joint security forces of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Police have identified poverty, peer influence and forced marriages as a driving factor for child trafficking in the region.

Major General Don Nabasa, the 3Division commander emphasized the need for leaders in Karamoja to address pull factors for street children and argued them to embrace the idea of forceful enrollment in schools for all the children in Karamoja.

Joint Security officials with some of the returned children

The commander said that child trafficking aids insecurity in a region that is underdeveloped. He tasked the parents to play their role of upbringing children by ensuring they instill discipline and report cases of child tracking to the authorities.

Gen. Nabasa urged leaders in the region to educate the communities in Karamoja to embrace the education of their children instead of keeping them at home to look after cattle.

This was during a joint security communiqué to the local leaders in a security-local leader’s engagement held in Lopei Sub county headquarters in Napak District on Tuesday 4.6.2024. The security meeting was attended by the Chief Magistrate, some selected NGOs, local leaders among others.

John Paul Kodet, the LCV Chairman Napak said that out of 1000 children who had flooded Kampala streets, 300 are from Napak alone and majority is from Lopei Sub County.

Some of the Community Members and leaders during the meeting

Regional Police Commander Mt. Moroto, ACP Francis Chemusto cited the legal framework for trafficking in persons. He said the law should be popularized to the Community.

“Local leaders shall also be held liable for neglect of their roles if children continue flocking the capital city,” Chemusto remarked.

Denis Okori, the Resident District Commissioner Napak mentioned that he has never received even a single report from any parent or relative concerning the any child disappearance in his tenure as chairman security in the district.

Mr. Okori said that instead, such information on child trafficking is always brought to their attention by whistle blowers.

The Moroto Chief Magistrate Abraham Achoko Moding warned leaders to take seriously this issue of child trafficking adding that perpetrators and accomplices will be dealt with mercilessly. Leaders agreed that all stake holders should engage in the fight against Child trafficking.

Early this year, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) conducted an operation to get rid of street dwellers and up 1044 people (youths, children and women) were arrested.

Out of the total number rounded up, 938 were found to be from Napak alone upon screening.

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