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Uganda: Women Ask Parliament to Decriminalize Prostitution

Uganda: Women Ask Parliament to Decriminalize Prostitution

Human and women rights activists have appealed to Members of Parliament not to criminalize prostitution as they debate and pass the pending Sexual Offenses Bill of 2015 into law.

The women rights activists explained that the offense of commercial sex remains one of the most redundant provisions. Its enforcement by law agencies continues to fail as it is hard to gather evidence and come up with a conviction against suspects.
“These arrests are mostly carried out to solicit bribes from sex workers and harass them. Few of them get to trial. The provision, is therefore, unnecessary since it is unenforceable,” Ms Macklean Mary Kyomya, the executive director of Alliance of Women Advocating for Change, an NGO, told MPs on Friday in Kampala.

The women activists say the Sexual Offenses Bill 2015, seeks to prohibit prostitution under clause 12 just like the Penal Code Act.
While addressing journalists at the Uganda Museum in Kampala, the women activists brandished placards reading; “Sex workers deserve equal rights & treatment”, “Outlaw poverty not prostitution”, “Sex workers contribute to the country’s economy just like any Uganda”, “Rights not rescue, my body, my business”.

Further, the women rights activists lamented that criminalization of sex work discourages sex workers from accessing HIV/Aids testing. She talked about how the treatment is necessary, but because sex workers stay away, because they fear being arrested and worsen the HIV scourge.
“It is, therefore, safe to say that the continued criminalization of sex work is doing more harm than good. This provision should be repealed in its totality,” the group said.

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Source – AllAfrica

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