Catholic Church Implicated in Uganda Child Labour


Less than two months since the Pope made his first visit to Uganda, the Catholic Church has been implicated in a child labour scandal within the East African nation.

A former child soldier has told the BBC that children as young as ten are working on a Ugandan tea plantation, from which the Catholic Church is profiting. Pope Francis said during his visit that children are among the greatest victims of exploitation in Africa.


3 million child workers in Uganda

The UN estimates there are three million child workers in Uganda, with 30% of children between the ages of five and fourteen being involved in the nation’s child labour network. The BBC report says its team found fifteen children working alongside adults at the plantation in question, once it visited the site.

However, the report falls short of citing proof that the land is owned by the Catholic Church or that it is profiting from the deal that appears to be in place.


Questions over the Catholic Church’s business ethics

Mr Turyaritunga, the former child soldier who acted as a point of contact for the BBC, has questioned the Catholic Church’s business ethics.

“I feel the Vatican should wake up and revise the business policy of the Catholic Church – or else there is going to be danger,” he told the British news organisation. “I feel at this time the Catholic Church is not ready for business,” he added. “That’s why I am calling for policy reform.”

All of the BBC’s efforts to get a direct answer from the Vatican or Kigezi Highland Tea Limited – the firm alleged to be involved in the deal – have so far been rebuffed.


Featured image:

Tea plantation (1)” by sarahemccTea PlantationUploaded by berichard. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.