Gulu alarmed by rising number of male sex workers

Gulu alarmed by rising number of male sex workers
The influx of male sex workers in Gulu, Uganda has drawn the attention of George Labeja, Mayor of Gulu Municipality.

Gulu, Uganda | URN | The Mayor of Gulu municipality George Labeja has raised a red flag over the rise of commercial male sex workers in Gulu town.

Unlike the female sex workers who are easily spotted, the male commercial sex workers are organized with leaders and are normally hang out in pubs along Cemetery Road in Gulu town.

They usually operate discreetly in the night. According to Labeja, an increasing number of commercial male sex workers in Gulu town is jeopardizing their fight against HIV/AIDS. He reveals that commercial male sex workers are led by a former UN driver (name withheld) also resident of Bardege division in Gulu municipality.

“I was very ashamed when I heard somebody, (name withheld) is the administrator of these male sex workers. At the end of the day when he was asked that how much money do you get in a month, he said Shs 600,000,” said Labeja.

Labeja who is a member of the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders’ Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL) Uganda Chapter, said the commercial male sex workers target rich working-class women who are normally feared by men but have burning sexual desires.

“These youths who are male sex workers they are going for rich women…These women are maybe rich but she lacks one ‘thing’ and that ‘thing’ she needs to buy it from these poor boys,” said Labeja who vowed to fight the vice to the end.

Alex Okoya, the Labour Line Parish LC II chairperson confirmed the presence of the commercial male sex workers owing to high demand by working-class women like bankers and high profile widows who “normally rent rooms in the outskirts of town where they are serviced by the young boys.”

 Gulu alarmed by rising number of male sex workers

Okoya said he interacted with the male sex workers and they told him that they went into the business since the work they were previously doing earned them little money.

Buckley Ruth Monday, the Gulu Municipal community development officer, says most of the young boys in Gulu town don’t want to work and want quick gains, something that leads them into such vices.

William Onyai, the Gulu district health and education officer confirmed the existence of the male sex workers but refused to disclose more information, saying it will jeopardize their work in helping them in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Read Also: Uganda softens stance on sex workers to ease HIV fight

Gulu’s health performance indicator for the financial year 2017/18 indicates that HIV prevalence in the district stands at 8.4 per cent compared to the national average of 6.2 per cent.

Article 13 (1) of the Penal Code Act 1950 states that every person who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution and every person who in any place solicits or importunes for immoral purposes commits an offense and is liable to imprisonment for seven years