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Napak Leaders Support Arrest of Parents of Street Children

Thirteen children aged between 5 to 15 years had been intercepted from Arapai Market in Soroti aboard a taxi registration number UBB 455D. Later, three parents were arrested by police and charged with aggravated human trafficking.
Joseph Lomonyang, Napak District Chairperson.

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Local leaders in Napak district have supported a move to arrest parents of children loitering the streets. 

Last week, the principal probation and welfare officer in the department of youth and children’s affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development ordered for the arrest of parents whose children had been intercepted in Soroti.

Thirteen children aged between 5 to 15 years had been intercepted from Arapai Market in Soroti aboard a taxi registration number UBB 455D. Later, three parents were arrested by police and charged with aggravated human trafficking.

Now, the Napak LC5 Chairperson, Joseph Lomonyang says the arrest must continue to help save children in the district. He revealed that all the sub-counties in the district had graduated into child trafficking business, a vice he notes has affected many young children. 

Initially, only four sub-counties of Ngoleriet, Matany, Lokopo and Iriiri in Napak district were sending children on the streets. However, the rest of the sub-counties now have children loitering on the streets of Kampala and other towns in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Statistics indicate that Napak contributes more than 80% of the Karamoja children in the streets.

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Most of the children have been running to the streets due to hunger, high poverty levels and insecurity. But Lomonyang says there is now peer influence, forcing most children to the streets. He notes that life of children returning from the streets attracts many other children to envy street life.

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Ben Loburo, the sub-county chairperson of Iriiri wants the district to fasten the formulation of the district ordinance on child trafficking. He also urges government to create a conducive environment for the children returned from the streets.  

According to local leaders, street life is a historical factor in Napak that started in 1979 due to insecurity and famine which forced many families to abandon their homes for places like Teso, Masindi, Iganga, Jinja, Mbale and Busia, among others where they prospered. 

Lomonyang says many people then picked up the trade and street life has now become part of life for some families. He also warned village chairpersons who write recommendation letters for children to move from villages.