Schools across the country open for the new academic year of 2020 today Monday 3rd January 2020.
While this may be a normal activity in other parts of the country, the same cannot be said for Kapchorwa district where officials have raised a red flag on the increasing cases of child Labour that keeps children away from schools.
According to the district leadership, the vice is common in Kaptanya, Tereyet and Kapusenda Sub-counties and Kapchorwa municipality, where children are mainly involved in vending vegetables, fire wood, fish and charcoal among others.
The Senior Probation and Social Welfare Officer Kapchorwa district Tina Cheptoek says the practice is rampant during holidays as many children leave home as early as 4am and return around 10:00PM, which exposes them to rape and defilement. Parents have abdicated their responsibility of working and have turned children into laborers.
The Kaptanya Sub County Community Development Officer Satya Masuti explains that child labor is more prominent in the lower belt of Kapchorwa and some parts of Kween where children are involved in burning charcoal due to high poverty levels.
According to Saul Satya, the Officer in Charge of the Child and Family Protection Unit at Kapchorwa Central Police station, the department receives many children on the streets involved in business and when asked, they always say they are sent by either their parents or guardians.
Parents are accused of lack of awareness and negligence of their roles with many children being forced to fend for themselves because their parents abandon them and cross to Kenya.