Mubende, just like many other towns along highways in Uganda, is struggling with the challenge of prostitution involving young girls. The major streets in the town turn into brothels as soon as it gets dark.
authorities are considering tapping into the Youth Livelihood Programme, Uganda
Woman Empowerment Programme funds and other grants meant for special interest
groups to combat the increasing levels of prostitution in the area.
Mubende, just like
many other towns along highways in Uganda, is struggling with the challenge of
prostitution involving young girls. The major streets in the town turn into
brothels as soon as it gets dark.
The most worrying
trend is that most of the commercial sexual workers who pour on the streets are
girls of 15 to 25 years of age. They offer sex for as cheap as Shillings 2000. Ben Baraza, the Principal
Community Development Officer Mubende Municipality, says the challenge of
commercial sex workers is getting bigger to an extent that it is becoming
normal in the eyes of the community.
He blames the problem on poverty, poor
parenting and the diverse cultures. “Many parents here
don’t send girls to school and they don’t mind about them. Some parents send them
away from home and once a child is not in school, she is open to all these
vices thus ending up trapped in prostitution for their life time,” says Baraza.
Several efforts by government and non-government organizations to pull the
girls off the streets are yet to yield results. Baraza says their main to get
the girls off the streets has been lack of the financial muscles since many see
the vice as their only source of income.
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Mildmay Uganda intervened with the Dreams project through, which is has been
pulling the girls from the streets and offer them a safe space before they are
equipped with vocational skills for survival.
authorities, says this is the best strategy to get the girls off the streets. Baraza
says the strategy can work as the girls and their young adults counterparts in
commercial sex are given vocational training and supported through the
mainstream government projects like YLP and UWEP.
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He adds that they are planning how best the initiative can be implemented. The authorities
have identified baking, tailoring, hair dressing and knitting as some of the viable
projects that can help the girls.
Sarah Nyamwongo ,17,
one of the former commercial sex workers undergoing vocational training under
the Dream project, says most of the girls just like her, end up on the streets
due to lack of options, adding that once given chance they can reform and live
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Nyamwongo says they can start over and have a better life with the skill they
have acquired once the municipality gives them a push.
Nantayi, the Buwekula County Chief, says without tackling the issue of
parenting in the area, all efforts by the authorities may go to waste.