July 12, 2010 (JUBA) — Police patrols are being used in Juba to curb the rise in prostitution southern Sudan’s capital, an official from the government of Southern Sudan said yesterday.
Many commercial sex workers flocked to Juba, from neighbouring countries as Uganda, Kenya and Congo after a peace agreement was signed between the dominant parties in the north and south in 2005.
At one point the sex industry was growing so fast that the government of Southern Sudan was concerned the capital would turn into a sex tourism destination, Bol Ajiing from Central Equatoria’s regional ministry of culture and heritage told Sudan Tribune in a phone interview from Juba.
Aijiing said that the situation is better now than it was was in 2009 before Custom Market, a former red light area in Juba, was knocked down and relocated to Jebel Kunjur and police and security services gave the issue more attention.
The arrival of foreign sex workers, Sudanese returning from countries with severe HIV/AIDS problems and changing attitudes to sex in south Sudan have led to alarming rates among certain populations according to the UNFPA the UN’s population agency. Sudan’s overall prevalence rate is estimated by UNAIDS to be around 2.3% in the adult population. In South Sudan estimates vary from 1% to 7.2%.
Despite southern Sudan’s Christian character and traditions poverty and crime have meant that attitudes to sex have changed dramatically in south Sudan in the last five years, according to Ajiing.