Uganda's anti-child trafficking campaign goes to schools


This story from The Christian Science Monitor, via the Thomson Reuters Foundation, follows a group of volunteers who hope to use reading and raising awareness to help provide opportunities to children and fight the demand for child trafficking. Child prostitution, which can affect girls as well as boys, is often best fought by educating the children--and their communities. Read more below and click through for the full story. - KAMPALA, Uganda — In a remote corner of Uganda a team of American volunteers are distributing books to children. But this is no ordinary literacy drive; their aim is to protect children at risk of being trafficked into prostitution, forced labor, and even for use in sacrifices.

Their work is part of a project by the Interior Ministry's anti-human-trafficking task force to reach out to poor communities vulnerable to child trafficking by promoting literacy.

Children in Uganda are trafficked and forced to work in cattle herding, stone quarrying, and brick making. Girls and boys are lured from poor families in rural areas to the city and exploited in prostitution, or abducted to fight in rebel ranks, said Agnes Igoye, deputy national coordinator of the task force.

Another abuse plaguing Uganda is the trafficking of children for sacrifice in rituals some Ugandans think bring wealth and power. Children are also trafficked abroad for adoption, domestic work, or sexual exploitation.

The distribution of books, supported by the U.S.-based charity Books for Africa, is a strategy of "prevention is better than cure," she said.

Read the rest here.