Three women have been sentenced to two months imprisonment after they pleaded guilty to using their children to beg on the streets of Kampala.
Ruth Aboka, Santa Anyango and Agnes Nakut who spoke through a Kiswahili interpreter were convicted by the City Hall Magistrate’s Court presided over by magistrate Jane Tibagonzeka on Friday August 26, 2022.
The three are part of the 26 women who were last week remanded to Luzira Prison for using children to beg on streets which contravenes with the law.
While sentencing the three, magistrate Tibagonzeka said that their sentence was reduced from six months because they are first offenders and have young children to look after.
She however further remanded 23 of the suspects to Luzira Prison until September 2, 2022, after their case hearing failed to take off due to language barrier. The suspects could only speak Karimojong which required the court to get an interpreter who was not readily available.
Under the Kampala Capital City Child Protection Ordinance 2022, launched six months ago, it is a crime to send a child to beg or solicit for alms in a public place, street, building, office or any business or commercial establishment and no person should live off the proceeds of a child engaged in begging or soliciting for alms.
Anybody who contravenes with the law will be imprisoned for six months or pay a fine of two currency points (about UGX 40,000). A currency point is equivalent to UGX 20,000.
Those who have been further remanded include; Lojari Arorins, Agnes Acheing Maria Echoru, Angelina Lochoro, Veronica Ilukol, Maria Royitye, Anna Lakwera, Lucy Lokita, Jennifer Lokol and Agnes Ate.
Others are Esther Olele, Anna Ongole, Pauline Lochoro, Angelina Lemukol, Anna Oroben, Anna Anyalo, Esther Lukwa, Elizabeth Sagal, Sarah Naduk, Brenda Nakiru, Anna Nalukuden and Maria Longol.
The women were arrested on August 20, following a child rescue operation on Thursday August 18 where 221 children were rescued from the streets and taken to Masulita Children’s home for rehabilitation.
According to KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka the operation to rescue children is not about the Smart City but to ensure children are protected and culprits abusing children apprehended.
“As KCCA we are going to be on this operation until we finish it. This is not about the Smart City but about ending this criminal vice of using children to beg,” Kisaka said.
She revealed that KCCA is working with various stakeholders including courts of law, security agencies, Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development among other.
“The law prohibits begging, and we are now arresting those using children to beg,” Kisaka said. “But we need a stakeholders approach to stop children coming from Karamoja. We cannot do it alone as KCCA,”
The law empowers KCCA to rescue any child found begging or soliciting on the streets. A person shall not use a child to propel them in a wheel chair with the aim of soliciting or begging for alms.
The ordinance also prohibits acts that encourage children to remain on the street and any acts designed to encourage the continued stay of children on the street such as handing a child on a street items including food, money or clothing; and luring a child from the street for group activity with an intention of returning them to the street.
Any child or infant used for or child found begging or soliciting for alms, is supposed to be rescued and committed to the custody and the care of the probation and social welfare officer.
The ordinance criminalizes children loitering in public places, begging or soliciting, vending or hawking and bans the sale of alcohol and drugs to children.
Renting out, leasing or giving a room, makeshift accommodation, house, tent, car, vessel or hut to a child for illegal and immoral activities including prostitution and drug consumption is also banned.