City Hall Court has sentenced 25 women to seven weeks in jail for deploying children on different streets of Kampala to beg for money.
The women many of whom appeared before the court with their children were arrested last month from different parts of the city during an operation conducted by Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA, the Uganda Police, and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Last week, the women were produced in court but couldn’t be sentenced because they needed an interpreter who spoke Ateso or Karamojong languages. The women who were from Teso and Karamoja could neither speak English nor Kiswahili, but four women who understood Kiswahili pleaded guilty to the offense of bringing children to the streets to beg and were convicted and sentenced to two months imprisonment.
On Friday, there was an interpreter who enabled the court to proceed with reading charges to them and convicting them before being sentenced to seven weeks in jail.
They were sentenced by Grade One Magistrate Jane Tibagonzeka for contravening the Child Protection Ordinance 2022.
Section 10 of the Ordinance prohibits any person from sending a child to beg or solicit for alms in a public place, street, office, or any business or commercial establishment and also to live off the proceed of a child engaged in begging or soliciting for alms.
The ordinance provides that a person who contravenes these provisions commits an offense and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding 40,000 shillings or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both.
According to KCCA, there are over 1,000 children on the streets of Kampala who are mostly deployed by their parents who watch from a distance as the children beg for money. More than 80 percent of these children come from the Karamoja sub-region where cases of hunger resulting from drought, insecurity posed by cattle rustling, and child trafficking are reported.
KCCA operationalized the Child Protection Ordinance in July this year and has since conducted several operations to rescue children off Kampala streets and arrest people responsible for deploying those children. So far, operations have seen over 600 children rescued and taken to different rehabilitation centres including Koblin Youth Rehabilitation Centre and Masulita Rehabilitation Centre.