By Our reporter
Commercial sex workers in the South Western region have called for the community to respect their work and for government agencies, particularly security, to decriminalize what they do if the parties believe the sex workers can contribute to solving problems, particularly combating infections like HIV.
Ms Naomi Mujuni, the chief executive officer of the Uganda Network for key population service organizations (UNESO), stated that sex workers in the country must understand that sex work is a job like any other, that it provides food for the family, that people enjoy doing it, and that it has ethics, so it requires government protection and community acceptance.
On Tuesday, she spoke at the Embassy Tours hotel in Ntungamo town during a meeting for commercial sex workers’ engagement with local leaders and security.
Ms. Immaculate Nyamwija, chairperson of commercial sex workers in Mbarara City, stated that there is a lot being missed because key implementing partners, including the government, are only focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention in sex workers.
She stated that major issues such as drug abuse, health and hygiene, human rights, and alternative income sources must be addressed.
Mr. Godfrey Mucunguzi, the Ntungamo resident district commissioner who presided over the meeting, stated that criminalizing sex work only harmed the government because it reduced security and taxation.
UNESO organized the meeting, which brought together both male and female sex workers, as well as other key populations.
At least 150 commercial sex workers’ organizations in the country are represented by UNESO.
The organization was primarily formed to bring them together and to fight for the rights of the country’s sex workers.