Sex workers in Uganda have lashed out at religious leaders who have condemned their trade but failed to encourage programs and projects to help fight unemployment and poverty in the country.
Sex workers expressed their anger after, Henry Luke Orombi, Anglican archbishop of Uganda, asked police to arrest men who pay for sex with prostitutes.
While addressing youth at St Peters Cathedral in the western Uganda district of Bushenyi recently, Orombi said that “Police should not only arrest the women but also the buyers” arguing that “If there were no men demanding for sex from girls, majority of who are university students, there wouldn’t be prostitution.
But prostitutes have condemned the primate and accused him of interfering in their affairs.
Says Macklean Kyomya, who also heads an organization called Women’s Organization Network for Human Rights advocacy (WONETHA): “As a Human Rights advocacy network we agree with Archbishop Orombi that people get into sex work for survival.
“However we strongly oppose criminalization of consensual adult sex work in all its forms whether it targets both the client who seeks for services and the sex worker- service provider, or either of the parties.
“Criminalization fuels sex workers’ vulnerability to discrimination, stigma, violence and sexual abuse, exploitation and extortion and getting murdered in cold blood.”
According to Kyoma, sex workers need to be given the rights to operate in a safe environment instead of being rescued.
Janet Nakatte Nabyanzi, a sex workers coordinator in Kampala, is also critical of religious leaders.
“Religiuos leaders have done nothing to help the unemployed youths in
the country. They should leave us to work for our survival” she said.