Prostitution is one of the lucrative businesses Ugandan women and girls resort to for quick money like servicing bank loans or money for upkeep.Prostitutes in Uganda however face a lot of challenges like a number of men who refuse protected sex among other problems.
Our reporter Martha Nakimuli had an exclusive interview with a Ugandan prostitute who does her trade along one of the busy streets in Kampala. This interview brought to light some of the unknown facts about prostitutes in Kampala and prostitution in Uganda as a whole.
Below are excerpts; the prostitutes is denoted as madam x
Reporter: How are you, how is work today?
Madam x: I am fine, it is still early in the night and work has not yet picked up. But it looks like it will be a good day.
Reporter: What do you mean work has not yet picked up?
Madam x: It is just 7:30, am too early today, i normally come at 8 and most of our customers come after 9. But i normally make some good money on this day.
Reporter: You have talked about your Customers, who are they?
Madam x: That is a funny question because we do not have specific customers, any person who comes here is my customer. The funny bit of it all is that my customer today will be the customer of my friend the next day. There is no jealousy in this job. Still, am fairly new in this job to mark people’s faces and identities as my old friends have done.
Reporter: You have just mentioned that you are new to this job, how long have you been doing it.
Madam x: I have been for four months, but some people have been working here for more than 2 years.
Reporter: How did you become a prostitute
Madam x: My friend brought me here, actually she had done the same job in Juba, but when the working conditions became hard that side for ugandans, she came to Uganda and continued with the same job. She sweet talked me to join and i did.
Reporter: Do you like this Job
Madam x: No, i actually hate it, if i had another option, i wouldn’t have come hear. To be sincere, most of us are here because of money related problems.
Reporter: So, if you hate the Job, why not quit?
Madam x: I came here because of a bank loan. I got a loan in the bank and it weighed to heavily on me,I could not raise the money from my day job and my friend advised me to supplement my income through prostitution. But am now performing well on the loan repayment and if I pay back the whole loan, I will never come back to the street.
Reporter: So, you have a day Job?
Madam x: Yes, I own a saloon, during the day, I work at my saloon and at night, I come to the street to do prostitution.
Reporter: Do your friends and know the work you do at Night?
Madam x: No, no one knows that I come here to do this job apart from the friend who brought me. Actually, I am always in fear, thinking that a person who knows me might come here. I do not know what I will do when any one comes to know about it.
Reporter: So, what do you tell your neighbors when leaving at night?
Madam x: I told them that I sell chips along the road and that is what they think I do.
Reporter: Are you married?
Madam x: I separated with my husband, but I have two kids whom I stay with. I work for the bank and for my kids.
Reporter: What challenges do you face during work
Madam x: The customers who do not want to use protection, I really do not like them, but when you refuse to have unprotected sex some of them become so mad.
Reporter: Most of the prostitutes are HIV+ve, what do you fear about unprotected sex, is it pregnancy?
Madam x: Yes, it is true that most of my friends are HIV+ve, but for me, I test every week and I am sure I am negative. Worse still, I can not risk getting pregnant from a man I do not know. I have a future life to live after here, as I told you, am here just to complete the bank loan, that is all.
Reporter: But your friends seem to like this Job, actually, they want prostitution to be legalized so that they can work without any interference
Madam x: I serious doubt that any one who like to this job when they have another option. Many people come her because it is the last resort. Though i can not speak for all of them.
Reporter: How do you feel sleeping with many men in a single day?
Madam x: I feel bad, but I have to like it. It is the only thing to get me out of the financial troubles I am in.
Reporter: Do you enjoy it, mean, when you are with a customer?
Madam x: I do it without feelings, I just lay down and let the man do what he wants. But I have to pretend as if am enjoying so that I do not make the customer feel bad.
Reporter: How many men do you sleep with in a single day
Madam x: It depends on the day, but if I get enough money I want, I go home. Some times I get 3 and some times I get 10. But there is a day I got more than 20 men.
Reporter: Thank you so much, do you have any message for the people who will read this interview?
Madam x: You are welcome, tell them that they should not look at us as outcasts, we are people who are pushed to the streets just to survive in this hard life: