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Women and Fish-for-Sex: Transactional Sex, HIV/AIDS and Gender in African Fisheries


  • Béné, Christophe
  • Merten, Sonja


Summary This paper analyzes the phenomenon of fish-for-sex in small-scale fisheries and discusses its apparent links to HIV/AIDS and transactional sex practices. The research reveals that fish-for-sex is not an anecdotal phenomenon but a practice increasingly reported in many different developing countries, with the largest number of cases observed in Sub-Saharan African inland fisheries. An overview of the main narratives that attempt to explain the occurrence of FFS practices is presented, along with other discourses and preconceptions, and their limits discussed. The analysis outlines the many different and complex dimensions of fish-for-sex transactions. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations.

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  • Béné, Christophe & Merten, Sonja, 2008. "Women and Fish-for-Sex: Transactional Sex, HIV/AIDS and Gender in African Fisheries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 875-899, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:36:y:2008:i:5:p:875-899

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bennett, Elizabeth, 2005. "Gender, fisheries and development," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 451-459, September.
    2. Gilbert, Leah & Walker, Liz, 2002. "Treading the path of least resistance: HIV/AIDS and social inequalities--a South African case study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1093-1110, April.
    3. Poggie, J & Pollnac, R & Jones, S, 1995. "Perceptions of vessel safety regulations: a southern New England fishery," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 411-418, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Salmen, Charles R. & Hickey, Matthew D. & Fiorella, Kathryn J. & Omollo, Dan & Ouma, Gor & Zoughbie, Daniel & Salmen, Marcus R. & Magerenge, Richard & Tessler, Robert & Campbell, Harold & Geng, Elvin , 2015. "“Wan Kanyakla” (We are together): Community transformations in Kenya following a social network intervention for HIV care," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 332-340.
    2. Durevall, Dick & Lindskog, Annika, 2015. "Intimate Partner Violence and HIV Infection in sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 27-42.
    3. McPherson, A., 2009. "Fourniture des services de santΘ et autres interventions de lutte contre le VIH/SIDA dans le secteur halieutique en Afrique sub-saharienne," Working Papers, The WorldFish Center, number 38695, June.
    4. Marshall Burke & Erick Gong & Kelly Jones, 2015. "Income Shocks and HIV in Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(585), pages 1157-1189, June.
    5. Camlin, Carol S. & Kwena, Zachary A. & Dworkin, Shari L. & Cohen, Craig R. & Bukusi, Elizabeth A., 2014. "“She mixes her business”: HIV transmission and acquisition risks among female migrants in western Kenya," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 146-156.
    6. Fiorella, Kathryn J. & Camlin, Carol S. & Salmen, Charles R. & Omondi, Ruth & Hickey, Matthew D. & Omollo, Dan O. & Milner, Erin M. & Bukusi, Elizabeth A. & Fernald, Lia C.H. & Brashares, Justin S., 2015. "Transactional Fish-for-Sex Relationships Amid Declining Fish Access in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 323-332.
    7. Stoebenau, Kirsten & Heise, Lori & Wamoyi, Joyce & Bobrova, Natalia, 2016. "Revisiting the understanding of “transactional sex” in sub-Saharan Africa: A review and synthesis of the literature," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 186-197.
    8. Mojola, Sanyu A., 2011. "Fishing in dangerous waters: Ecology, gender and economy in HIV risk," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 149-156, January.
    9. Béné, Christophe & Arthur, Robert & Norbury, Hannah & Allison, Edward H. & Beveridge, Malcolm & Bush, Simon & Campling, Liam & Leschen, Will & Little, David & Squires, Dale & Thilsted, Shakuntala H. &, 2016. "Contribution of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Food Security and Poverty Reduction: Assessing the Current Evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 177-196.
    10. Norris, Alison H. & Kitali, Amani J. & Worby, Eric, 2009. "Alcohol and transactional sex: How risky is the mix?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1167-1176, October.
    11. Parkhurst, Justin O. & Chilongozi, David & Hutchinson, Eleanor, 2015. "Doubt, defiance, and identity: Understanding resistance to male circumcision for HIV prevention in Malawi," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 15-22.
    12. Burke, Marshall & Gong, Erick & Jones, Kelly, 2011. "Income shocks and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa:," IFPRI discussion papers 1146, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. McPherson, A., 2009. "Health service delivery and other HIV/AIDS related interventions in the fisheries sector in Sub-Saharan Africa: a literature review," Working Papers, The WorldFish Center, number 38688, June.
    14. Nunan, Fiona & Hara, Mafaniso & Onyango, Paul, 2015. "Institutions and Co-Management in East African Inland and Malawi Fisheries: A Critical Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 203-214.

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