New Vision (Kampala)

11 April 2009

Uganda: Sex Tourists Target Country

Kampala — THEY call themselves mongers. Not fish, but sexmongers. They fly in from all over the world to have fun with Ugandan girls, who they find easy, both on the eye and the wallet.

On their return home, the sex tourists share their adventures and compare notes with friends on an international blog called International Sex Guide - Uganda.

As a result of an aggressive campaign to shed off her dark history as a war-torn country, Uganda has increasingly become a popular destination for foreign visitors, including sex tourists.

On their blog, which has been running since 2004, the sex tourists discuss in intimate detail, the various physical attributes of Ugandan women, the way an ardent football fan would review a soccer match.

Those planning to travel to Uganda write in to ask about the options. Recently, Parliament passed a law criminalising prostitution and human trafficking. Before that, Uganda had no law prohibiting sex trade.

'Mongers' who have been to Uganda or are in Uganda then write back with advice. They share information on where to get sex , how much to pay, which hotels will allow you to take them in free of charge, how much surcharge you will pay in other hotels or how to evade paying these fees.

The more adventurous even upload pictures showing themselves and the women in the act.

One member has taken it upon himself to actually compile profiles of the girls to sleep with when mongers visit Uganda. A typical profile includes a description of the girl, her first name, her menu (i.e the variety of sexual acts she offers) and where one can find her as well as a few observations about her from the profiler.

While most of the attractions for sex tourists seem to be the usual suspect bars in Kabalagala and along Speke Road, they are definitely not the only red spots. The forum reveals that a number of massage parlours in the city are for all intents and purposes brothels. "Any good tips on massage places where a lunchtime massage turns into more fun?" asks one sex explorer.

He gets this reply; "There is a place just behind Crested Towers. Anything is possible at that place. Or you can try M**** gardens in Naguru. Quiet place and very modest. The other place I know is not so cool looking but you get the real goodies for about 15K(sh15,000) after the massage. It is in Naguru as well. Called M**** place." To this the inquirer answers that he has already tried out the first two places with varying degrees of success. Other massage parlours are named in subsequent entries. However the so-called mongers do not only seek out commercial sex workers. They also tip each other on how to hook regular women. "I'll be in Uganda/Kampala in a few weeks. I'm interested in going for non-pros," one Tkenia says.

He goes on to explain that he prefers white-collar girls and those who work in shops because one can have a great experience with them without feeling like an ATM machine. He is soon given just the information he needs. "One of my favourite places was the taxi stands between 5:00 and 7:00pm. Lots of variety. Mostly office going women. Nicely dressed. Stand next. Start talking.

Sex tourism is a multibillion dollar industry that spans the entire globe. In countries like Thailand, brothels that offer these services to foreigner and locals are actually legal businesses. Although mostly perpetuated by men, sex tourism also involves women. A 1978 study in Gambia described "rampant" male prostitution with middle-aged northern European women "buyers." Some sources estimate that 650,000 western women have engaged in sex travel since 1980 with a good number of them going to Jamaica. Here in Uganda, female sex tourists are said to prefer the quieter town of Jinja to Kampala.

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