Monday December 7 2009

12,000 Makindye children engaged in child labour

By Stephen Wandera

Kampala

A new child labour report in Makindye Division indicates that over 12,000 children are engaged in illegal economic activity exposing them to child labour.

The report conducted by Platform Labour Action (PLA), an NGO that advocates for the rights of children, in conjunction with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, indicates that out of a population of 395,314 in Makindye Division, 45 per cent are bellow 15 years, of whom 12,700 are engaged in child labour.

“We have just concluded a child exploitation survey in Makindye Division and our findings indicate that there are 12,700 children engaged in child labour.

About 7,300 are females and 5,400 are males making seven per cent of the total population of children in the division,” the Executive Director PLA, Ms Lilian Mugerwa said at the launch of the report in Kampala last week.

Ms Mugerwa said the children are employed as maids, collectors of scrap, used bottles, plastics, food sellers, among others. She said children are preferred because they can easily be influenced and manipulated.

Public warning
The Assistant Commissioner in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mr Godfrey Kiberu cautioned the public against employing children. He urged the public to protect the rights of children. “This is an alarming figure (12,700). We are losing future doctors and engineers when we do not send these children to school. I appeal to all stakeholders to act as ambassadors to protect children against child labour,” he said. The report recommends that the affected children be provided with quality education among other social services.

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