Police officers attached to the minerals sector have been urged to enforce the ban on children working in mines as this is tantamount to hard labour activities for small commissions.
The call was made by Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, Hon. Mutuuzo Peace Regis Mutuuzo while speaking at the occasion to commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour at Madibira Primary School playgrounds in Busia border town on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.
The minister cited an example of gold mines in Namayingo and Busia districts where children toil beyond their age and physical limits, and this has not translated into wealth for the abused children.
“This is the more reason police should step in and fight the vice,” Mutuuzo noted.
The Day was marked under the theme: “Children shouldn’t work in the fields, but on dreams”.
Hon. Mutuuzo noted that the choice to host the event in Busia was intended to raise the profile of the fight against the vice of child labour in the area but also the country at large.
Speaking at the same event, the Busia District Chairman Geoffrey Wandera observed that according to the 2014 national population census, Busia had 99,217 children below the age of 18. Of these 24,919 (34.7%) are aged between 10-17 and are employed for domestic labour, informal cross border trade, mining, fishing, bars, restaurants and hotels among others.
“Because of this, the region and Busia district in particular has suffered an increase in teenage pregnancies, early marriages, school dropouts, HIV/AIDS, juvenile crimes, street children and child trafficking and modern-day slavery,” Wandera said.
He blamed the high prevalence of child labor on the inadequate awareness, laxity in enforcement of child labour laws, parental neglect, low commitment from leaders and high levels of poverty and ignorance among the populace.