The Police Cyber Unit alongside the anti-human trafficking team at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) are hunting for teachers who allegedly took pictures of breastfeeding girls in classrooms and shared them on social media.
Ever since schools reopened on January 10th, 2022 after several months of closure in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19, some pictures have been making rounds on social media showing girls either breastfeeding or pregnant.
Although some of these pictures have been photo-shopped, Agnes Igoye, the deputy coordinator anti-human trafficking department, says some of the pictures are genuine and they suspect that they were taken by teachers who then circulated them on various social media platforms.
Igoye says they have come out to collaborate with police after noticing that there is an increase in attacks on girls who have been courageous enough to return to school even after giving birth.
“If you are a teacher, it is even worse. If you receive the picture and also forward, there is a trail. We request all investigating officers to trace the sources of these pictures. Parents please report to police when you see your child’s picture being shared. It is an attack on the girl child. We are not seeing males’ pictures who are responsible for making the girls pregnant being shared,” says Igoye.
It is estimated that 354,736 girls were impregnated in 2020 which was the first year of Uganda’s COVID-19 lockdown on education institutions. By end of June last year, 196,499 more girls had been defiled and impregnated, according to ministry of gender, labour and social development.
The government through the Ministry of Education and Sports directed schools to allow all pregnant and breastfeeding girls back in school. It is believed that the pictures shared on social media of pregnant or breastfeed girls were taken from upcountry schools.
Igoye explains that sharing pictures of girls breastfeeding in classrooms or in the school compounds with their pregnancies torments them and they could end up abandoning school forever. With hope that they could put a stop to an act which Igoye says is discouraging and ridiculing girls, the Police cyber unit has been tasked to work hand in hand with anti-human trafficking department to ensure people circulating such photos are arrested.
The Cyber Police Unit based at CID headquarters has already picked up the investigations. Police have vowed that even if it is the teachers taking and sharing such pictures, they will not be spared. URN