The writings contained herein are the personal accounts of Ugandan sex workers.
Sex work is illegal in Uganda. As a result, the rights of sex workers are forfeit. The workers face stigma and exclusion from their communities and families, and experience grave violations of their basic human rights by bad clients and the police.
Many Ugandan sex workers do not enter the industry by choice. Some work as it is the only means of survival for themselves and their families. Some are coerced. Some freely choose the work, or have remained working once they are in a position to choose. Many enter the industry before they are 18.
Readers are warned that they may find this material distressing, and that this content is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. Please view at your discretion.
It's business as usual 24/7 all year round. Cynthia is proud and empowered. She loves her job because it has given her what she never received from her own family. She has friends and a new family with her colleagues in this business. They are Cynthia's rocks. She has never felt alone when with fellow sex workers...
It hasn’t been so rosy... Melisa thinks she just has bad luck. She has had some pretty bad experiences with sex work although she is still a young girl at university. After each client Melisa really feels like quitting but she needs the money. She needs the drugs and fancy clothes.
Lwasa is a trans sex worker who works in [REDACTED], a border town of Uganda and Kenya. Most of their clients are truck drivers who ferry in goods from the port of Mombasa. They are a sex worker because they want to be. They weren't forced into this. Lwasa's family is well-off and they went to university. Lwasa does sex work as a side job... Something they like doing from their heart.
Read Trucks all the Way
The author of this piece is a 21yo sex worker from Gulu, Uganda. They started sex work not so long ago and have had some wonderful experiences, but also some bad ones. They have managed to sustain themselves even through the COVID-19 pandemic because of sex work. The author says they love their job, but there are parts which have left permanent scars.
The streets have been Mama Machu's home for a long time. If you asked her out of sleep, she would tell you that sex work means everything to her. It's her way of life and her circle of friends includes sex workers from all areas of Kampala. Mama Machu is proud and unashamed of what she does for a living.
Rita is a 30yo sex worker from Kampala. She has been a sex worker for 10 years and has a rich client base. Rita does her work from the fanciest hotels around town and her clients are mostly influential men. She gets good tips and a good pay from these men.
Mishel is a self-employed business woman. She deals in delivering pleasure to men’s bodies. Some people call this job sex work... In Mishel's mind, she is a company executive. Her clients call her sweet… Or, let’s say, most of the time they are blinded by lust. Sex work is Mishel's life and it’s all she survives on. That is Mishel in a nutshell.
Read All In For My Family
Juliet is 22yo female sex worker. She loves dogs and kids. Juliet has dreams of being a successful woman in the future... Maybe going back to school, if possible. Sex work is Juliet's demon and her salvation; it feeds her and it’s the reason she is alive. She has ups and downs doing this work, but she believes with more organisation and acceptance it can be lucrative. She thinks more laws to govern client and sex worker agreements would be a good thing, as some clients are violent and others fail to pay.
Read Mother's Silence
This contributor is in jail for a crime she committed out of self-defense. The legal system in Uganda hasn’t been fair to her because she is a sex worker. There are many more people like her in jails around Uganda. CARE For Us received this story after they paid her a visit in prison. She wants to maintain anonymity in fear of retribution from the influential man she almost killed.
Read Bad Client
Queer, Proud and Expensive to FUCK. Yes, Angelo is a bit of a show off... He loves his job because it puts food on the table and pays the rent. Angelo is a sex worker and he is gay. Yes, GAY. Angelo has the privilege of having wonderful clients in a country where sex workers are treated like dump rats.
Read My Dark Choices
Sister Love is a bit crazy and quiet. She's been through some bad times with sex work and she no longer wants them to define her. Sister Love is different because she has embraced her pain and moved on to find peace within herself. Sex work supports her in all ways possible except when the times are bad like with COVID-19. Sister has had some amazing clients and has made some great friends. She loves her work regardless of the trauma of how she began in the industry.
Naka Baibe is the mother of a baby boy and wife to be. She is a proud sex worker because of the immense support she has received from her husband. This kind of thing is rare in her part of the world. Naka Baibe guesses she is one of the lucky ones. She says sex work has many lows but also many good highs, and she has no regrets. Imagine!! Her one time client is soon to be her official husband.
Read Joy on the streets
Andreas is a 23yo male sex worker who is gay, although most times he never says it loud for fear of being lynched. Andreas is a jolly, kind and outgoing guy who has a passion for photography. He lost his mother due to HIV/AIDS and his father left when he and his siblings were young. Andreas has many sad stories and memories growing up, but the most recent is losing the man he had fallen in love with. Michael was one of Andreas' first clients when he started this career. Michael became Andreas' rock; his balance in life. Andreas never regrets being a sex worker, because it’s through this job that he met his happiness.
Read I Kissed a Man
Carolynex is a 28yo female sex worker who is the mother of a lovely, beautiful daughter. This piece shares with us Carolynex's life. She has many regrets. Carolynex just wants to be considered a normal person by her family, friends and community — to not be judged by what she does with her body.
Read What Last Resort!
Mia is a 24yo female sex worker. Sex work has been and is Mia's main means of survival. She does not discriminate with her clients as long as they are above 18. All clients are welcome, and Mia can guarantee them an experience worth their money.
Read The Life of Mia
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