BUSIA – State Minister for Gender and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Mutuuzo Peace Regis has on Wednesday, June 12, urged the Police to lend a hand in curbing child labour in Uganda.
Hon. Mutuuzo was speaking at the event to commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour which was at Madibira Primary School in Busia district,
“Children shouldn’t work in the fields, but on dreams,” was the event’s theme.
The Minister gave examples of gold mines in Namayingo and Busia districts where children toil beyond their age and physical limits.
She said that working in mines is tantamount to hard labour yet these activities pay small wages. She rebuked this vice saying it has not translated into wealth for the abused children.
“This is the more reason police should step in and fight the vice,” Hon. Mutuuzo said
The Minister also revealed that hosting the event in Busia was intended to raise the profile of the fight against the vice of child labour in the area but also the country at large.
In response, the Busia District Chairman Geoffrey Wandera on the same issue said that according to the 2014 national population census, the district had 99,217 children below the age of 18 and Of these, 24,919 (34.7%) are aged between 10-17 and are employed for domestic labour, informal cross border trade, mining, fishing, bars, restaurants and hotels among others.
“Because of this, the region and Busia district, in particular, has suffered an increase in teenage pregnancies, early marriages, school dropouts, HIV/AIDS, juvenile crimes, street children and child trafficking and modern-day slavery”.
Mr. Wandera has blamed the high prevalence of child labour on the inadequate awareness, laxity in enforcement of child labour laws, parental neglect, low commitment from leaders and high levels of poverty and ignorance among the population.