PUBLISHED — 23rd, February 2024

The City Hall Magistrates Court in Kampala has handed down community service sentences to 88 individuals involved in sending children to beg on the streets.

The ruling, delivered by Grade One Magistrate Edgar Karakire, marks a significant step in combating the pervasive issue of child exploitation in the city.

For the past three weeks, the offenders had been held in remand at Luzira Prison, awaiting their sentencing. Now, they face community service terms of up to 120 days, highlighting the seriousness with which the judiciary views such offenses.

The convicted individuals, primarily mothers, were found guilty under the Kampala Capital City Child Protection Ordinance 2022, which prohibits the use of children for begging or soliciting alms in public spaces.

The ordinance, aimed at safeguarding the welfare of children, imposes strict penalties on those found in violation, including imprisonment and fines.

Remarkably, the authorities did not stop at mere convictions. The 88 offenders were promptly transported by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to Napak district, where they will serve their community service sentences.

This proactive measure underscores the commitment of the authorities to both punishment and rehabilitation.

The implications of this ruling extend beyond just the perpetrators. With the sentencing of these women, a total of 66 rescued children will now be reunited with their families.

These children, who were once subjected to the indignity of begging on the streets, will now have the opportunity to reclaim their childhoods and receive the care and support they deserve.

Under the provisions of the ordinance, children found loitering, begging, or engaging in other hazardous activities on the streets are to be rescued and provided with appropriate diversion programs by probation and social welfare officers.

This holistic approach aims not only to punish offenders but also to address the root causes of child exploitation and provide support to vulnerable children and families.

This isn't the first time Kampala has taken decisive action to protect its children. In a previous operation last month, over 1,000 children were rescued from the streets and provided with rehabilitation at the Masulita Children's home before being reintegrated with their families.

Such concerted efforts underscore the city's commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of its youngest citizens.


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