Police and Probation officers have rescued 22 children from suspected child trafficking in Luweero District.
The children were rescued from an illegal orphanage run by Afaayo Children Ministries at Bukasa village, Zirobwe Sub County.
Police raided the home on Friday and found nine Congolese children mobilised from Kyangwaali refugee settlement and more than 10 others from Kampala. The children, majority of them girls, are aged between 8 and 13 years.
Ms Joyce Namigadde, the Luweero District Probation Officer said that they received reports that the home was keeping the children without a license from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and is in very inhabitable conditions.
“Indeed on getting there, the children were found in small and tidy room without a trained caretaker. The children have been transferred to Luweero Child Reception Centre run by Child and Family Protection Unit and Non-Government Organisations,” she said.
Police have since arrested six caretakers including Ms Agnes Kijjambu the wife to Pastor Eddy Kijjambu the owner of the home to explain how they got the children. Pastor Kijjambu the Director of Afaayo Children Ministries is reportedly on the run.
Mr Ahmed Musakana, the Luweero District Police Commander said that Pastor Kijjambu faces charges of child trafficking and operating an illegal children’s home.
But Ms Kijjambu told this reporter at Luweero Central Police Station that the parents gave in their children to them voluntarily after they learnt that they could be helped to access free education.
“We are not running an orphanage centre, the children were being kept at Afaayo Christian Academy which was set up to offer free education to needy children,” she said.
Ms Olivia Kalungi, a resident of Kasubi a Kampala suburb is among the parents who surrendered their children to the home voluntarily.
“I decided to give in my too sons to them after their father died in an accident. They were receiving free education which I couldn’t afford,” she said.
In 2016, Luweero District closed about 25 orphanage homes after failing to meet basic requirements. Currently only five orphanage homes are licensed to operate in Luweero but others have emerged and running without fulfilling the requirements.
In September 2018, Police raided God's Power Revival Church located at Sinalya Hill, Kalule-Bombo in Luweero District and rescued 15 girls and one boy.
The children had been mobilised from the districts of Kasese, Bugiri, Budaka, Kiboga, Ntungamo, Bukomansimbi, Wakiso and Masaka among others. The parents were duped by a pastor that he would look for people to sponsor their children.
In July 2018, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development ordered the closure of all homes which were found to be operating illegally. At least 569 homes were recommended for closure but many are still operating illegally.