They go on to work
in domestic servitude, brick laying, general and construction
labouring, sand mining, stone quarrying, tree planting, cutting,
and in other labour intensive industries. Some later escape and
find their way onto the streets.
In terms of numbers, a 2009 report
estimated that there are 2.7 million child labourers in Uganda,
12,000 trapped in commercial sex, 10,000 street children and
25-30,000 children abducted from the country to engage in armed
conflicts elsewhere. Add to this the vulnerable 1.2 million
children across the country who have been orphaned through AIDS
who are particularly susceptible to offers of a better life by
apparent philanthropists and you have an economy ripe for child trafficking especially
given that many births aren't registered and therefore missing
children aren't even noticed nor, if they do resurface, can prove
who they are nor which country they came from.
The term 'child
trafficking' itself conjures up images of children being dragged
from their families and sold effectively into slavery. However,
in Uganda and elsewhere it is often much more subtle than that.
Many children aren't sold into slavery, they are given by their
poor parents who often cannot provide for them to other family
members who promise them a better life and education.
impoverished families have been known to sell their children
often for as little as £12 ~ about the going weekly pay
rate for a teacher in a non-government private school in Uganda.
Others are rented out for labour. For example in one area
children as young as four keep the fields clear by shouting at
birds or throwing stones at them. In exchange they are provided
with food or a small amount of money before they return to their
family at night.
In quarries around Lake Bunyonyi in
south-west Uganda you can see scores of pre and school children
working all hours chipping rocks into gravel under a blazing sun
(left) without protective clothing to shield them from the flying rocks.
Most of these children will earn just 11p for a 12 hour day of
hard labour ~ then have that taken off them by their parent(s) on
And this in a country whose
constitution states that children under 16 years of age have the
right to be protected from social and economic exploitation;
should not be employed in work that would endanger their physical,
mental, spiritual, or moral health and social development, or that
would interfere with their education. The Constitution also
prohibits child slavery, servitude, and forced labour.
in Persons Report 2008" concluded "The Government of Uganda
does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the
elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant
efforts to do so."
Five years on, its
still a major problem. The following are identified as the primary causes of child trafficking
- Destabilization of the region
- Dissolutionment of the family
- Armed conflict
- Political instability
- Gender inequality
- Weak anti-trafficking laws
|Poor economic development
Lack of sustainable
Lack of interoperability
Poor inter-country cooperation
Low education level
Limited awareness of trafficking
and social-economic precipitators