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IGANGA: 12 children rescued from suspected labour traffickers, authorities speak out

Mr. Kalulu Godfrey, the legal officer at Platform for Labour Action speaks to the children on the truck which they intercepted (Photo/Handout)

Iganga, (UG):- The Iganga District labour officer for Iganga district Mr Waiswa Abubakar on Friday intercepted a mini-lorry carrying at least 12 children destined for sugarcane cutting in the Busoga region.

According to the district labour boss, it was reported that the children were ferried from Kinawanswa village, Bulamagi Sub County in Iganga district.

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Mr. Waiswa, who was moving around Iganga town suspiciously learnt about the Dyna Canter Reg No UAW 695T with more than ten children destined for sugarcane cutting in one Balaba’s plantation.

“I was moving and landed on these children and I got concerned. I have learnt that these children were picked from Kinawanswa to go for sugarcane cutting in the plantation of one Balaba,” Mr Waiswa told DailyExpress during a press briefing.

He condemned the act of child labour, attributing it to negligence by parents to care for their children and connivance to collect the children for work, saying they are working closely with Platform for Labor Action to get the perpetrators using these children in child labour.

“It is a bad act because these are young children and the nature of the work they are going to do is hazardous in nature and affects their health as well as their growth and education because they can’t perform while in this business,” Mr. Waiswa said.

“Right now I am with Platform for Labor Action and we are getting information from these children as we trace for the prime perpetrator but we have got the transporter and our aim is to end the habit of child labour, child trafficking and abuse of children’s rights,” Mr. Waiswa said.

The legal officer for Platform for Labor Action Mr. Kalulu Godfrey Mutema says it is time for children to prepare for school saying the parents may not be aware of their whereabouts. He urged parents to take care of their children.

“Any child needs to be at school and it is a right for them to be in school. Parents in Busoga are neglecting their children and there is a gap between children and their parents and this has landed these children in cases of child labor,” Mr. Kalulu said.

The negligence of children by their parents has led to concerns by the general public asking security, legal officers attached to labor organizations and local leaders to physically engage parents of the children to establish their knowledge on involvement of the children in child labor.

“We ask police, legal officers handling labor issues in Iganga and local leaders to engage parents and their children to know where the problem is coming from and who is sending these children to sugarcane plantations,” Mr. Samuel Diogo, a resident of Iganga said.

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