Human rights activists want sex work legalized in Uganda

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By Ronald Kabuye
Some Human Rights activists are agitating for the legalization of sex work in Uganda saying it doesn’t hurt anyone in any way.
According to Justine Balya from Human Rights Awareness and promotion forum HRAPF, prostitution is truly not a crime since one willingly buys or sell him or herself but the only country’s worry is about the morality which she believes is between a person and God.
She adds that Criminalizing prostitution just makes it hard for police to regulate it since people will continue to sale sex whether on streets, inside offices or homes yet its hard to get required evidence to prove such cases.
She appealed to government to copy from countries which have legalized the act and police to charge prostitutes with prostitution offense as opposed to the rogue and vagrancy charges like idol and disorderly or possession of drugs.
Geofrey Wokulira Ssebagala, a Human Rights activists said sex work can not be dealt away with since government only deals with symptoms without getting to the root causes and investigating to get a lasting solution.
“When you arrest or imprison a mother of many inclusive of relatives for engaging in prostitution, you violent the rights of those she takes care of since they will not feed, attain education, shelter or good health which are the basic rights. Her arrest might also force the dependents to join the vice” said Wokulira.
Wokulira advised that the most important thing is government to undertake research and understand why certain things are happening, find solutions or better still legalize sex work as its done in developed countries since it also helps to increase the tax base.
He further condemned the act of beating, insulting and exposing those assumed to be engaged in criminal acts since it violates their rights and an attack on one’s rights is an attack on all.
Women’s Organization Network for Human Rights Advocacy WONETHA, a sex worker association which covers over 15 districts with over 1700 registered members are at the core of fighting to have their work legalized.
They assert that they have worked and still working with government agencies on several projects thus they see no reason for criminalizing their work.
They cited out government agencies like police which they have worked with to fight crime and Ministry of Health in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
They also decried the continued violation of their rights especially by police officers due to their person interest like sleeping with them and soliciting money from them.
Speaking to one of the local radio, the Kampala metropolitan Spokesperson Luke Owesigire admitted that it’s hard to prove a case of prostitution in courts law since you most prove with evidence that there was a transaction for sex intercourse and that indeed the sex act transpired.

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