Police in Soroti district have arrested two people on allegations of trafficking girls from Karamoja, North East of Uganda, to Kampala.
This was after authorities intercepted 13 young girls who were being trafficked from Karamoja to Kampala on Friday.
The operation was led by Minister of State for Youths and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi.
The Minister says the authorities received a tip-off from the whistleblowers that many girls had been prepared to be moved to Kampala over the Easter holidays.
This forced Police to intensify security on the Karamoja-Soroti road for amplified vigilance to the suspects.
According to Nakiwala, the rescued girls were between the age of 12 and 15, and were moving in a Kampala-bound taxi. The taxi was flagged down and searched by police on Soroti road.
“This morning, we just intercepted a group of people from Soroti trafficking thirteen children aged between 12 and 15,” the Minister said on Friday.
She confirmed that the driver and the conductor whose names were withheld are being held at Soroti central police station after recording statements.
“We have intercepted all of them and they are right now within the reception centers and the culprits are on to remand”.
Nakiwala vowed to deal with anyone trying to indulge in trafficking children on streets of Kampala.
“This is to sound a warning to all those people who are planning to do business of trading children during the festive season especially around Christ the King church and prayer areas like All Saints church where we normally find children gathering during the festive season. The moment you are caught, you will be facing the law,” she said.
She encouraged parents to watch their children during the festive season
“As the country is celebrating Easter days, I ask parents not to leave children unaccompanied. I would like to call upon all parents to guard against their children from being involved in trafficking” said Nakiwala.
The police action comes as part of the increased efforts by goverment to solve the problem of child trafficking which has created multitudes of street kids in Kampala city. For long, organizations that resettle street kids have attributed the problem to agents who but these children from their parents in Karamoja and bring them to Kampala to use them as a source of daily income.
Minister Nakiwala has been at the peak of ridding the streets of Kampala of vulnerable children many of whom have since been absorbed into reception centers managed by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Others have been taken on by licensed children’s homes and others resettled into their families.
Frank Mugabi, the communications officer in Ministry of Gender says the Ministry also runs a vocational training centre in Napak district which caters for street children.
However, he says that the number of street kids in Kampala has been swelling largely due to lack of funds to facilitate enforcement operations.
Mugabi added that Parliament is currently reviewing a supplementary budget worth Shs 3.4 billion that will support street kid resettlement programs.