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Arua city registers increase in child hawkers

Children hawk bananas on the streets. File Photo

Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Children selling foodstuffs have become a common sight on the streets in Arua city.

Following President Yoweri Museveni’s announcement of a second lockdown, that also included the closure of educational institutions for 42 days, Arua city has seen several children selling merchandise in search of survival.

The more than 20 children some young as six years are selling vegetables, fruits, and other foodstuffs in markets, on streets, while others are also involving themselves in hawking.

The children who throng the streets of Arua everyday say that since they are not going to school because of the lockdown, vending and hawking keeps them busy.

A number of the children say their parents give them the items to sell on the streets after which they take the money home.

Fahad Abdi, a 12-year-old pupil of Albab Primary School who sells onions and face masks says that after selling the items, he takes the money to his father.

Another child aged 13 years says that engaging in petty trade is her only source of survival. She says that she has been vending as a source of income for their family.

However, Jimmy Anguyo, the West Nile Regional Child and Family Protection officer says sending children to the streets to engage in vending exposes them to Covid-19. He says that before the second lockdown, there were less than 10 children on the streets, but the number has increased to more than thirty.

He says that parents should strictly keep all the children indoors for purposes of ensuring that they remain safe. Anguyo says that they have been sensitizing parents against sending children to do business on the streets but some have not heeded to the advice.

Grace Chandiru, a parent says that the children on the streets risk being sexually abused and recruited into criminal gangs.

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