Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on Monday started an operation to rescue children from the city streets where at least 260 children were picked up from various parts of Kampala.
The Authority said the children will be taken to Kobulin Youth Skills rehabilitation center in Napak district where they will be reunited with their families, receive formal education and parents will be equipped with skills for job creation.
In June this year, KCCA launched a new law aimed at protecting children in the city by prohibiting exploitation of children.
Known as the Kampala Capital City Child Protection Ordinance 2022, the law criminalises children loitering in public places, begging or soliciting, vending or hawking and bans the sale of alcohol and drugs to children.
The law which was launched by the Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago on June 8, at Hotel Africana came at a time when the city was struggling with the increasing number of street children.
“We don’t arrest street children; we are rescuing those vulnerable creatures because their parents are careless. It is our obligation to make them safe and punish the parents or the abusers,” Lukwago said.
Over 70 per cent of the children found on the streets of Kampala are from Karamoja region. The law empowers KCCA to rescue any child found begging or soliciting on the streets.
“This law is not about criminalizing street begging. When formulating it we had to strike a balance between humanitarian assistance, generosity and using children to beg,” Lukwago said.
Other local governments have also been encouraged to have similar laws that are aimed at protecting children.