Breaking Taboos: Married Women’s Shocking Double Lives in Northern Uganda’s Sex Industry!

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The Hidden Lives of Married Women in Northern Uganda’s Red-Light Districts!


Over a third of commercial sex workers in northern Uganda are married and staying with their partners, a study conducted by Gulu and Lira Universities has revealed.
According to Standard 256 publication, the principal investigator of the research, Dr. Felix Bongomin, who is also a lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at Gulu University, shared the findings during the inaugural Gulu and Lira Universities Annual Scientific Symposium held at Bomah Hotel in Gulu City on Friday.

Dr Bongomin elaborated that the study, conducted between February and March of this year, engaged 314 female commercial sex workers from 15 hotspots within Gulu City and other places in northern Uganda. The research delved into the use of dual contraception among these women, with funding provided by the Centre for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) through a research seeds grant for junior researchers.

Dr. Bongomin said that the study identified diverse motivations for married women’s participation in commercial sex work, including the economic fallout caused by COVID-19, leading to unemployment, financial struggles, loss of regular employment, preferential treatment of sex workers for relief aid, and the lucrative nature of the business.



Other contributing factors cited were idleness, broken relationships, experiences of sexual violence like rape, long-distance relationships, abusive partners, and a lack of support from male partners. Commercial sex workers were reported to engage in this trade discreetly, leaving their marital homes without their male partners’ knowledge, all in pursuit of financial gain.

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