Brenda Atiku is a 16-year old girl. She had a wish to complete her studies and become a responsible citizen, but her journey to education was cut short when she lost both her parents
By Agnes Nantambi
Brenda Atiku is a 16-year old girl. She had a dream to complete her studies and become a responsible citizen, but her journey to education was cut short when she lost both her parents.
From her home village in Apac, a well-wisher brought her to Kampala to start a new journey into life.
She luckily got a job to work as a maid at a single mother's home in Kawempe Ttula, a Kampala suburb.
This however did not last long after she accidentally broke her boss' glass whose income was from prostitution.
Journey into prostitution
"After the incident I was given a punishment to go and work with her for only a day to also share the sweat she was going through.
She took me to Kimombaasa in a small room which had a bed and mattress on it. As I lay there, two men came in; she gave me one and took the other.
She directed me to entice my customers so that I could get more money for the day to be able to replace her glass and keep some as well.
That day, I got five customers and I was able to earn sh20,000. At first I enjoyed but as morning approached it became hard for me to handle more customers since I was still a virgin.
That marked my beginning into prostitution. It has however become hard for me ever since I gave birth to a child whose father I cannot tell, because of the many men I slept with daily.
Lure of money...
According to Robbina Sarah Mugangi, the founder of Set Her Free, a local organisation empowering young girls, although efforts have been made to get girls out of prostitution, the daily money from men has made it hard for many to abandon the practice.
"We have tried to empower them through different ways but due to our full day programmes most of these girls cannot stay the whole day to learn some skills, "she said.
She explained that most of the girls who join prostitution at a young age have suffered early pregnancies yet they lack the capacity to look after their young ones.
At Set Her Free, we are fighting hard to see that the innocent children leave prostitution and are taken to school so to become responsible citizens so we break the cycle for prostitution, "she said.
Set Her Free is currently looking at empowering and restoring the lives of young girls formerly enslaved by sex trade in addition to other disadvantaged girls within the communities.
Muganzi, who was speaking during the fourth annual graduation ceremony for the organisation at Tick Hotel on Saturday, observed the need for a combined effort towards ending prostitution.
Over 100 disadvantaged young women from the areas of Kawempe, wandegeya, Kanyanya,Ttula and Katanga received certificates in various vocational skills like tailoring, hairdressing ,pedicure and manicure among others.
Sebuliba Mutumba Muddu Awulira, the Kawempe South Member of Parliament, appealed to government to take lead in the fight against prostitution in our communities.
He expressed concern over police officers who pretend to be arresting them yet they just use them to get tips.
"Police should stop deceiving us because we have seen them arresting these women on pretext of being idle and disorderly and after getting tips from them they let them stay on the streets, "he said.
He complained that his constituency has the highest number of prostitutes which is now fueling crime in the area.
"We have areas like Kimombaasa which is very dangerous; Uganda, Katanga and Ttura which are prone to prostitution and are now Centres for crimes in the entire constituency.
Prostitution cycle must be broken – activists