In 2008 more than 300 cases of murder and disappearances linked to ritual ceremonies were reported to the police with 18 cases making it to the courts. There were also several high-profile arrests of parents and relatives accused of selling children for human sacrifice. Most people engaging in these disgusting practices do so out of ignorance. Many are lead to believe they will receive wealth and success from supernatural sources in exchange for child sacrifices.

Increasing homelessness which leaves most children on streets exposes them to child sacrifice practices.Government officials have warned that perceived police inaction over the ritual murders could lead to political instability as mob justice takes over. Roland Kakooza Mutale, director of special duties in Uganda’s state house, said the ritual murders of mostly poor children were “politically frightening” and that action had to be taken.Orphans and homeless children are at greatest risk of being innocently sacrificed. Mupenzi seeks to address this by educating people in areas where these practices are common in addition to building a home to remove such vulnerable children from harm.Natural Disasters In 2010 Bududa District experienced massive flooding and mudslides, burying many families, homes and farms. Many children were left homeless and orphaned by the tragedy. Plautira has taken some of these children under the care of Mupenzi, but countless more still suffer from the effects from the destructive mudslides.Plautira and the children in Bududa – Sironko district.Human Trafficking Ugandan police are increasingly linking the sudden increase in child murder cases to organ trafficking. The anti-human trafficking taskforce said many of the bodies found in the past few months were missing organs such as kidneys, hearts and livers, a detail not consistent with many traditional ritualistic practices.In May a report released by the US State Department said Uganda had become an international hub for human trafficking and highlighted the increased trade of children in the east of the country for their body parts.War and ConflictIn the northern districts of Uganda, 30,000 children have been abducted in the past 20 years. Almost every family in the Acholi and now Langi area has been affected. Many families have lost a child through abduction, or their village was attacked and destroyed, families burned out and/or killed, and harvests destroyed by an army of abducted children known as The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Even though the majority of the conflict with the LRA has moved into Democratic Republic of Congo, Ugandans are still struggling to recover. Many children formerly abducted and forced into the lives of premature soliders are now returning home, but finding extreme difficulty re-assimilating.

The countryside is virtually empty and people have moved into safe villages that are supposed to be protected by the government. These villages, which are in reality Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, lack necessary resources and residents are frequently accosted by the soldiers who are supposed to be protecting them. These circumstances not only tear apart families, but affect the development and well-being of the countless children involved.

Economic FactorsChildren are frequently abandoned by parents who cannot afford to care for them. Family planning methods are not commonly practiced in Uganda, a country that has the second highest birth rate in the world. Although the Ugandan government has established Universal Education to provide free primary and secondary education, families are still expected to pay fees in order to feed children at school. Some children live in boarding schools and work for food and boarding in addition to attending classes.                           Matthew Watson( USA) and Plautira Plus other helping mothers of Mupenzi sharing a moment with the children.”Visiting the children in schools to identify their needs made me so emotional, most of them would just smile seeing me around even if it wouldn’t change anything for them. To them it was a whole new world” – PlautiraHIV/AIDSThousands of children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Although the rate of transmission from mother to infant has virtually vanished, the majority of orphans in Uganda lost their parents to the virus. Often, young children are left in the care of elderly grandparents who struggle to support themselves, their children, and young grandchildren. More information about the HIV/AIDS situation in Uganda can be found at the UNAIDS Uganda site.