Members of Parliament call for punitive measures against sex offenders in a bid to check the e increasing sex crimes in the country.
The MPs say that with the Sexual Offences Bill, stringent measures will be put in place to protect persons who would likely fall victim to sexual offences.
The Bill moved by Hon. Monicah Amoding in 2015 was forwarded to the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and it proposes several measures to check on among others, sexual harassment in schools by guardians or teachers.
The object of the bill is to consolidate laws relating to sexual offences and provide procedural and evidential requirements during trial of sexual offences.
“There are a series of bills that we have but are in bits and pieces in different law books. This bill will bring all these together,” said Amoding.
She said this while moving the bill for second reading, during on Wednesday, 13 February 2019.
MPs want the bill to specify compensation for victims of sex crimes especially children and youth who unfortunately get subjected to defilement or rape.
“Many cases that go to court fail because of the nature of evidence required by the criminal justice system,” said Hon. Jackson Odur (FDC, Erute South), adding that “the questions asked to children at police stations can traumatize them”.
MPs also noted that the bill ought to provide punitive measures for sexual harassment at the workplace, noting that this had affected the efficient growth of many young men and women who often keep silent as victims.
“Many young people have suffered from sexual harassment at their places of work because there is no law that clearly defines sexual harassment. This has dealt a blow to many careers of aspiring women and men,” said Mbarara Woman MP, Hon. Rosette Kajungu.
MPs also raised concern over child trafficking from rural to urban centers, noting that many trafficked children especially girls end up as sex slaves for exploitative Ugandans.
They noted that the bill should address issues of good parenting so as to protect children and youth from sexual exploitation and put them on the right path for social development.
State Minister for Lands, Hon. Persis Namuganza said that the bill had been long overdue especially to address the different sexual offences in Ugandan homes.
“We have noticed that there is rise in incest where parents especially men rape or defile their daughters. Offences committed by relatives should be punished differently,” Namuganza said.
Protection of the boy-child was also raised as a matter of urgency to be addressed by the Sexual Offences Bill especially where female victims had often been prioritized over the male victims of rape and defilement.
“Young boys cannot move along the street because prostitutes often harass them and there have been some cases of rape. We tend to sympathize with women, not knowing that there are women out there who are torturing young boys,” noted Hon. Gilbert Olanya (FDC, Kilak South County).
Other concerns pertaining to access to pornography, early child marriage and sexually provocative cultural traditions were raised as areas to be addressed, to check on the rampant sexual offences in the country.