A new 2014 report by Child rights nonâ€“government organizations in Jinja shows an increase in cases of child abuse in the area. The most common abuse is illicit trade in teenagers below the age of 17 years for domestic labour which has led to other rights abuses like defilement, intensive labor all at a cost dictated by middlemen.
The most common abuse is illicit trade in teenagers below the age of 17 years for domestic labour which has led to other rights abuses like defilement, intensive labor all at a cost dictated by middlemen.
According to the report, middlemen solicit for young teens from the homes of their caretakers promising to get them employment, with an option for studying in future or starting up a business after they have worked for some months.
The Uganda Network for Empowerment of the Marginalized Child and Youth (NEMACY-UGANDA) shows that the rate of child exploitation in Jinja has reached alarming proportions after it became commercialized.
The teens are got from slum and island areas of Jinja district which include Mafubira, Bussede, Masese, Kakira, Walukuba Namulesa and Mpumudde at a fee ranging from 40,000 to 150,000 shillings depending on the job, area of placement per month.
Felix Ngobi, NEMACY Official in Jinja, says that out of the 53 interviewed children in Mafubira Sub County alone, 41 were found to be involved in intensive child labour with other abuses like defilement and starvation in homes where they are taken to work. The report also found that 4 out of 10 children are willing to leave their parents’ homes for work because they are poor and cannot provide for themselves. Others have dropped out of school, while some parents are already forcing them to get married, which makes them desire to join informal employment.
Ngobi says that some of the children were involved in cultivation, sex trade, carrying luggage in make shift markets and making bricks amongst others. According to Ngobi most of the activities are dangerous to the minors.
//Cue in: “And we’ve also…
Cue out: “…reason at all.”//
Apollo Kateeba, Jinja central police commander, says two people were arrested in connection to trade in teenagers for labour, but says many more have joined the racket and must be reported to authorities within the community.
But Abu Zaake, who works as a middleman in getting jobs for domestic workers, says it is the parents of the teenagers who force them to get jobs for their children.
Enock Dhaira, a former victim of child trafficking, says human traffickers use the slightest point of contact to get their prize and teenager trade would only expose children to possible trafficking if not stopped.
//Cue in “I was kidnapped…
Cue out “…I stopped understanding.”//
He was later taken to Mombasa in a botched human sacrifice ritual.
Peter Waiswa, the Administrator at Adolescent Development Support Network in Jinja, says that they have rehabilitated more than 1000 children from child labour in the last three years, some of the children in very unbearable conditions.
A 2012 United Nations High Commission for Refugees – UNHCR report on human trafficking says Uganda is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trade. Ugandan children are employed in cultivation, cattle herding, mining, stone quarrying, brick making, car washing, scrap metal collection, bars and restaurants, domestic service sector, and in prostitution.