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Unacceptable! Minister orders closure of lodge over prostitution

State Minister for Agriculture Christopher Kibanzanga speaking at a function recently. (PHOTO/File)

BUNDIBUGYO – State Minister for Agriculture Christopher Kibanzanga has ordered for the closure of a popular lodging in Ntandi Town Council, Bundibugyo district, which he said has turned into a brothel.

A brothel is a place where men go and pay to have sex with prostitutes. Speaking on Wednesday during belated celebrations to mark the day of African Child in Bundibugyo district, Mr Kibanzanga, who is also Bugehndera County MP in the same area, directed the Resident District Commissioner and the Town Council authority to ensure that the lodge, which also has a bar, is closed within one week.

He blamed parents for failure to take full responsibility of nurturing their children and protecting them against such immoral behaviours. “This is poisonous. How can parents allow girls below 18 to join prostitution? It is a shame,” he said.

He said most prostitutes there are young girls below 18 years.

Much as sex work is illegal and highly stigmatized and anyone who engages in it is liable to seven years in jail, according to Uganda’s 1950 Penal Code, Sex workers operate freely during day and night, especially in the urban centres and may say they do it because there are no jobs in the country.

Uganda is the ninth-fastest growing population in the world, with 76% of its people under the age of 30, according to UNFPA, and nearly 50% is under the age of 15. An estimated 1.6 million people — about 7.3 percent of the country — are living with HIV in the country, but the rate of HIV among sex workers skyrockets and is estimated to be between 35% and 37% in 2014. This figure is a harsh reminder of the HIV epidemic among sex workers – it is more than the highest national average among the general population in sub-Saharan Africa (Swaziland – 27.4%). It is estimated that sex workers and their clients accounted for 16% of new HIV infections in Uganda in 2014. The partners of the clients of sex workers then account for an additional 3%.

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