URN – Gulu municipality seems to have jumped the queue when it comes to so many things. First, the city has witnessed a rapid facelift making it rewrite the narrative of the war-ravaged northern Uganda. With just months remaining, Gulu is going to start operating fully as a city. But there is something new in town – the booming sex market.
According to the mayor of Gulu municipality George Labeja there is rise of commercial male sex workers in Gulu town. He noted that unlike the female sex workers who are easily spotted, the male commercial sex workers are organized under some sort of leadership and are normally hanging out in pubs along Cemetery Road in Gulu town.
They usually operate clandestinely in the night. Labeja laments that the increase in the 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.”
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