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Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is one of the Worst forms of Child Labour that is increasingly becoming a serious problem in Uganda and is commonly seen on the streets, in bars, brothels, hotels, video halls and among students especially girls living in hostels. It is a disguised practice that abrogates the child's rights to dignity, equality, autonomy, physical and mental well being. It is characterized by spontaneous and continuous sexual, physical and psychological abuse of children and threats of denunciation and intimidation in order to retain children in sexual exploitation.
In 2004, a study conducted by the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development revealed that over 12,000 children were affected by trafficking and prostitution in Uganda. A current study conducted by Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) with support from Acting for Life (AFL) 2011, reveals that, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) exists, is hidden, more prevalent in urban settings and appears to be infiltrating schools. The study has also estimated that the number of children affected by CSEC has increased from 12,000 to an estimated 18,000 with more girls affected than boys. The age at which children are affected and or get involved in CSEC is getting younger as majority interviewed were between 14 – 18 years.
Lack of responsible parental care is one of the major factors that have rendered children susceptible to CSEC as approximately 80% of Children in the peri-urban settings are staying alone.Other factors pushing children into CSEC include Migration of children from small towns to big towns looking for employment opportunities mainly as domestic workers, Peer pressure, early school drop out due to high costs of school fees and scholastic material, and benefits promised to them like shelter, food, alcohol and drugs where the latter plays a dual role as a benefit and a mood changer. Over the years, UYDEL with support from a number of partners designed intervention to address, withdraw, rehabilitate and reintegrate children engaging in CSEC and has also engaged in a number of awareness campaigns to advocate for the rights of children affected by commercial sexual exploitation in Uganda.
In August 2010, UYDEL received technical and financial support from Acting For Life/Groupe Developpement/Air France to undertake a Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) study project focusing on four regions in Uganda.
Study Goal:The study was commissioned to document factors that have contributed to the increase of CSEC in Uganda and to document interventions employed at various levels and changes therein since 2004.
Specific Objectives:This study aimed at addressing four specific objectives, which include:
1. To assess the extent of the problem of CSEC in Uganda, specifically to map out the main areas that feature high levels of CSEC in selected urban, semi-urban and rural areas and to develop a profile of children being exploited in the sex trade.
2. To identify National, District and Community level responses to CSEC; particularly examining legal, policy and resource flow commitments, and the roles played by various stakeholders in addressing CSEC.
3. To identify current interventions and document case studies of especially innovative approaches of good practices among selected NGOs in order to determine if such responses could be better supported and replicated elsewhere in the country.
4. To propose strategies and recommendations to mobilize and enhance efforts of government and Civil Society Organizations to address CSEC in Uganda.
UYDEL constituted a Technical Reference Working Group composed of individuals from government institutions, civil society organizations, and networks involved in child protection work that provided guidance on the study processes. Following the report compilation, UYDEL conducted a series of district feedback/dissemination workshops in Masaka, Mbarara, Bugiri and Lira where data collection had be done.
In addition, a national dissemination workshop of the CSEC study was undertaken; national training workshop on CSEC, contributed and supported the meeting to improve the national draft plan on CSEC; meeting with lecturers of university and other tertiary of institutions of learning; held a workshop with enforcement arms of government and also held a breakfast meeting with Members of Parliament. Find the detailed reports of these workshops and meetings are uploaded on this webpage and you are welcome to read about these efforts in this section.
Links for CSEC Articles