A sex worker-led
organisation -WONETHA says sex workers are likely to be exposed to more vulnerability,
abuse and extortion if President Museveni assents to sexual offenses Bill.
WONETHA Uganda says the new restrictions in the
proposed law will not only expose the women and men engaged in the trade to
more health risks like HIV/AIDs but will push them to operate underground.
Executive Director, Diana Natukunda says although Committee of Parliament consulted
them about the Bill, they were surprised that it was passed with sections
prohibiting commercial sex work.
revealed in an interview that they had agreed with the mover , Monica Amoding to
delete that section of the Bill.
Natukunda called for the decriminalization of sex work, saying it is a reality
that should be dealt with to help women who are forced into prostitution.
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sex work has been criminalized under the penal code, the Health Ministry continues
to group sex workers among the most at risk population in HIV/AIDS prevention
Bill passed by Parliament also proposes a penalty and an jail sentence for
whoever will be found buying or procuring services of sex workers.
workers fear that they, or their clients, may be arrested by the law enforcement
agents or will be engage in risky encounters.
Some sex workers have in the past said they have been sexually abused by police men who demand for sex in exchange for their freedom.
Natukunda urges the President not to assent to the bill. She says
Parliament and the Executive would rather address challenges of sex workers
whose number is on the increase.
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Director of Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC), Mary Macklean Kyomya says a lot of people will be
affected by this law if assented to in the current state.
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Mary Harriet Lamunu the executive director of Uganda Women Parliamentary
association(UWOPA) says that they had proposed to delete the clause on banning
sex workers but this ended up in the bill.
however says UWOPA was able strike a balance between men and women which
was not the case in penal code where the law punishes only sex workers.
The regulation of sex work is a
hotly debated issue in both low and high-income countries, and sex work
persists with varying degrees of legality around the world.
In 2015, Amnesty
International brought this debate into the spotlight by passing a resolution calling
for the decriminalization of sex work, arguing that decriminalization is the
best way to defend sex workers’ human rights against violations such as
exclusion from health care.