13 August 2006

Uganda: Kinobe Disagrees On Prostitution

Kampala — PROSTITUTION in Uganda should be tackled head-on in the same way the HIV/Aids pandemic was handled, Youth and Children Affairs minister of State Jimmy Kinobe has said.

Officiating at Young, Empowered and Healthy (YEAH) Journalism awards in Kampala on Tuesday, he said: "There are strong and passionate arguments for and against regulating prostitution. Some sections, like the moralists, do not even want to mention it [but] I propose that we generate debate on the subject with a sober and open mind as we did for HIV/Aids two decades ago."

Maj. Kinobe, however, said it was wrong to legalise prostitution because it threatens to reverse gains made in the struggle against HIV/Aids.

Ethics and Integrity minister Nsaba Buturo recently criticised lawmakers for contemplating legalisation of prostitution.

The issue came to light two weeks ago when Deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told visiting MPs from Ghana that Uganda's legislature should consider 'decriminalising prostitution'. She said sex workers were fellow citizens and whose views should not be ignored.

A few days later, Buturo said: "I think our MPs are going a wrong way. Supporting legalisation of prostitution is not what they were sent to do in Parliament. This is immoral and should be stopped."

Kinobe, however, said that turning a blind eye to the issue would not eradicate the Aids virus. He said all it takes for a girl nowadays is to put on a short skirt, stand in a dark corner at night, and sell her body.

Approximately 12,000 children, mainly girls, are involved in commercial sex according to a recent Unicef report.

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