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Based upon detailed life histories of 96 Ugandan sex workers, this article documents the pathways women take into sex work through marital separation and the subsequent need to support children via rural-urban migration to obtain wage work in Kampala.

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This report summarises the deliberations of a one day event entitled “Labour of Love” held on 17th December 2010, hosted by Women’s Organization Network for Human Rights Advocacy (WONETHA) in partnership with Uganda Harmonized Rights Alliance (UHRA).  The event primarily sought to put a human face to the lives of sex workers as well as challenge the public silence on violence against them. The forum was attended by 55 participants, including sex workers, brothel owners and human rights activists. The event was organised against the background that sex workers have continuously suffered from abuse, discrimination and violence which often goes unreported and unacknowledged.  In particular, the event illuminated the achievements, coping mechanisms, challenges and recommendations regarding sex work.

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In Uganda, 6.4% of the 33 million people are HIV/AIDS positive. This is a sharp decline from about 30% in the 1980s, when the pandemic first struck the country. The theme for this year’s World Aids Day was: 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. However, Uganda chose to mark the day under the theme to highlight the need for Paediatric HIV/AIDS interventions under the theme “I have a duty to protect every child from HIV/AIDS….. Do you?” The theme reflected Uganda’s national priority in addressing the challenges of the pandemic in the country, with an estimated 25,000 children born each year HIV positive.

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Theme: Health

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) created this document as a way to provide context for the sex worker rights movement by sharing the life stories of sex workers with others, in their own words, allowing them to share their dreams and experiences with others to help them better understand sex workers, and to help other sex workers find the value and power in their own experiences. Chapters include stories of sex workers, a guide to risk management tips for sex workers to have safer work lives, and a sex workers pledge.

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