At least 100 sex traders in Lira Municipality have Saturday been given coronavirus relief food by the district task force.
The donations included 6kg of posho, 3kg of beans and a packet of table salt. The exercise was officiated by the National Resistance Movement [NRM] party chairperson for Lira district, Hon Sam Engola, Lira RDC Milton Odongo and a team from Uganda Red Cross, Lira branch.
Speaking to the beneficiaries at Uganda Technical College (UTC) Lira where the relief food was given, Sam Engola who’s also the NRM national vice chairperson in charge northern Uganda, said he was not aware prostitution or sex traders exist in Lango sub-region.
“My tears wanted to come after your chairperson said you have been given a wrong name. I didn’t know that the name existed in Lango. But because she has spoken and I’m seeing you all here, I’m feeling sad; I am seeing young girls who should be doing the many available jobs…..”
According to Mr Engola, Lira RDC Milton Odongo told him he hosted a chairwoman of all prostitutes in Lango sub-region who complained to his office about abandonment of prostitutes during this lockdown.
“Now I’m seeing it [prostitution] is there and we are thinking how to come back to you after coronavirus is gone and discuss properly with you what we can do for you,” Engola added.
Mr Engola also told the beneficiaries that whereas corona is killing people in other countries, “we should thank God in Uganda nobody has died but it is coming. Now we have gathered here and not following guidelines, when it comes, we will believe this disease is there.”
The Lira NRM leader promised to draw the attention of President Museveni to the problems Lango sex workers are facing.
According to their acting chairwoman, many sex workers shied away and stayed home while 108 trekked to pick their relief food on Saturday.
Lira RDC Milton Odongo reminded sex workers that he was told some of them were not taking their ARV drugs because they lacked food and there was no business.
“I think this was your first cry,” he said. “Yes,” this was unanimous, cheerful responses from sex workers.
Mr Odongo also said he was briefed that sex workers were in bad situation because they are underprivileged.
“I had to consider giving you food on condition that: after getting this food today, go cook and resume taking ARV for those on drug because we don’t want anybody to die. Secondly, from today, rain is abundant, I want all of you to go back home and start agriculture and I have free transport for you [pause as beneficiaries vulnerably burst into laughter].” RDC demanded.
Also, Engola Sam promised transport to take each sex worker to any village in Lango sub-region she hails from.