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Monday, 17 February 2014

Kenya's battle to end 'sex for fish' trade

BBC News

The shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya bustle with business - wooden fishing boats competing for space, carrying in the morning catch of tilapia, perch or catfish.

Under the scorching sun, the fishermen bargain with those queuing up to buy: mainly women, who hope to make a small profit at the local market. 

But in this deeply poor part of Kenya, the transaction between fisherman and female market seller is rarely a financial one. 

The currency is sex, not money: women selling their bodies in the hope of taking back a prize catch.
The practice is known colloquially as "sex for fish" - or, in the Luo language of the area, "jaboya".

Lucy Odhiambo, 35, prepares her latest purchase for the market, descaling the fish and slitting them open to remove their innards. A widow and mother of five, she says women here are in a bind.

"I'm forced to pay for the fish with sex because I have no other means," she tells the BBC. 

"Usually I sleep with one or two fishermen a week. I could get diseases but I have no other choice: I have my children to send to school. Jaboya is an evil practice."

The "disease" is indeed widespread here - the HIV infection rate in this area is almost 15%, double the national average - and it is largely down to "sex for fish". 

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