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Janet: Karamoja Street Beggars a Shame to Uganda

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unhealthy stuff http://corpuschristimiami.com/wp-includes/class-feed.php sans-serif; font-size: 9pt; line-height: 150%;”>An estimated 11, no rx http://chanceandhydrick.com/wp-admin/includes/list-table.php 000 children from the districts of Napak and Moroto in the North Eastern Karamoja sub-region alone are languishing on the streets according to research by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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In the urban areas, the young kids are engaged by their traffickers in begging, and other forms of illegal income generating activities like carrying luggage in markets, selling charcoal among others.

While officiating at a Stakeholders’ conference in trafficking in persons in Uganda, First Lady and Karamoja Affairs Minister Hon Janet Museveni expressed displeasure about the growing child exploiting vice.

She also furiously rebuked the Ugandan population which she said was gradually beginning to appreciate street begging as socially acceptable.

While most of the kids are “leased” by their consenting parents to the traffickers to go earn a living in the city, transporting such school-going children to do manual labour in urban areas remains a serious offenCe punishable by the criminal justice.

“Protecting children has been my lifelong passion, and it has now become more of a mandate as a Minister in Charge of Karamoja affairs,” she said.

“Internationally, human trafficking is done discretely because it is criminal and harshly punished, but it is very sad that in Uganda, it is practiced in broad day light on the streets of Kampala and other towns.”

Janet called upon all Ugandans to unite against the ugly practice noting that it was rapidly tarnishing the image of the nation around the world.

“It is a shame to all of us that we have become used to the sight of shabbily dressed children begging on the roads, and our only reaction is ”these kids are a nuisance.’

“We must understand that streets have never given birth to children. God never created any human being to live on the streets.”

Light at end of the tunnel

The First Lady however expressed optimism about the downward trend of children trafficked from Karamoja.

She highlighted the recently restored security of persons and property in the region, reduced dependency on aid food, increased water coverage, schools and health facilities as some of the factors likely to bring down further the trafficking numbers.

Speaking to our reporter at event, IOM’s Chief of Mission Mr Gerald Whaite, revealed a number of areas in which his organization had helped stem the internal and external trafficking trend.

One of these he said, included a 2 year project carried out in the districts of Napak and Moroto in which over 700 children from Kampala were returned to their families. The project he said has registered 100 percent success as none of these made their way back on the streets.

He said this project would be pivotal in assisting government to embark on grand exercise of returning the thousands of street children back to their homes and reintegrating them back into society.

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