Kapchorwa, Uganda | URN | Kapchorwa district officials have raised a red flag on the increasing cases of child labour. The vice is common in Kaptanya, Tereyet and Kapusenda sub-counties and Kapchorwa municipality.
Children are mainly involved in vending vegetables, firewood, fish and charcoal among others. Tina Cheptoek, the Senior Probation and Social Welfare Officer Kapchorwa district, says the practice is rampant during holidays.
She says many children leave home as early as 4 am and return around 10:00 pm, which exposes them to rape and defilement. Cheptoek says parents have abdicated their responsibility of working and have turned children into laborers.
Satya Masuti, the Kaptanya sub county Community Development Officer, says child labor is more prominent in the lower belt of Kapchorwa and some parts of Kween where children are involved in burning charcoal. He attributes the problem to high poverty level.
Saul Satya, the Officer in Charge of the Child and Family Protection Unit at Kapchorwa Central Police station says they get many children on the streets involved in business and when they ask them they always say they are sent by either their parents or guardians.
Moses Chemutai, the LC I Chairperson Arokwo cell in Tongwo ward in Kapchorwa Municipality attributes the practice to lack of awareness among parents and negligence of their roles. He says many children are forced to fend for themselves because their parents abandon them and cross to Kenya.
George Cherukut Wonge, the Eastern division LC V councilor who also doubles as Kapchorwa District Production Secretary, says parents of most of the children involved in child labor treat it as a normal thing.
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Cherukut reveals plans to apprehend such parents and guardians very soon.
Pastor Robert Musau from Kings Outreach Ministries of Holiness and Repentance International in Kapchorwa attributes the problem to lack of spiritual guidance in the families.
Charles Mwanga, a parent says inadequate sensitisation by the relevant authorities has led to the persistence of child labour in the district, adding that most of the sensitisation projects are used for personal gains more so political capital.