The leaders of Napak district have called for the demolition of squalor shelters which are being used to accommodate street children in Katwe and Kisenyi areas in Kampala.
Most of these street children who have been trafficked to the streets from Karamoja spend their night time in these areas where they are further abused sexually among other abuses.
The Napak district leaders led by their LCV Chairperson John Paul Kodet were on June 7 hosted by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), officials from the Directorate of Gender, Community Services and Production.
The event held at Mayors Parlour discussed the rescue and resettlement of the Karamojong children from Kampala streets.
The engagement follows the rescue exercise carried out by the KCCA, two months ago where over 160 children were rescued and taken to Napak for rehabilitation.
It is upon this background that the leadership of Napak requested for an engagement meeting with KCCA and other stakeholders to discuss the issue of the street child.
The Minister of State for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, Kabuye Kyofatogabye attended the meeting, he was glad to see that the team from Napak came to Kampala to discuss with other stakeholders on how best to handle the issue of street children in Kampala and child trafficking in the Karamoja region. He however expressed his disappointment in the recurrence of the street children phenomenon in the city and promised to make time to also travel to Napak to touch base with the local leaders and some families of these children.
He noted that children are the future of the country so it was very important as leaders to protect them and that government was coming up with restrictive measures against illegal movement of children to Kampala.
The KCCA Deputy Executive Director, Eng. David Luyimbazi welcomed Napak leadership and noted that the issue of street children is a big challenge faced by KCCA.
Luyimbazi expressed concern over the increasing cases of children being infected with various diseases like HIV as a result of engaging in illegal sex trade and other criminal related activities.
According to Luyimbazi a Medical team handling the children rescue exercise discovered that many of the street children have been infected with HIV.
Luyimbazi said the goal of KCCA is to attain a Smart City status, a thinking every individual need to own. This is a city without street children and an organised trade order.
He expressed his passion about the future of Ugandan children protected and urged stakeholders to take the matter seriously.
The Napak LCV chairperson Kodet, commended KCCA management for accepting to host them, and thanked the Deputy ED for being passionate on the issue of children especially those exposed to danger.
He proposed a stakeholder engagement and need to have annual review meetings to track the progress of the rescue and resettlement of the street children.
Kodet noted that as leaders of Napak, they are highly concerned with the issue of their children being on the streets of Kampala and yet most of them are coming from one district.
He also observed that some people are taking advantage of the children for economic benefit.
“Insecurity has been a push factor for most of the children from that region and as a result they find it very unappealing to live in the village. Those recruiting the children are based in Kampala with very strong links in Napak.” Kodet said.
Interventions are very important so that both health and economic needs of the children on the street are addressed, he added. He also revealed that three people have been arrested and are on trial on charges of child trafficking.
A team from Moroto Diocese also presented their findings on the intricacies that surround the street children problem and linked the trafficking to mainly women who they said were ruthless and had the support of some leaders in the Kisenyi and Katwe areas.
The deputy RCC of Kampala, urged the development partners to join hands in supporting the rescue exercise. He said he would be involved personally in order to close loopholes in the exercise with assistance from the security organs.