Sex for fish …..As women fish mongers in Kilifi County turn to sex to remain in business
The Fishing industry is major source of livelihood for women in Kilifi County.
The women have become fishmongers and majority depend on different fish landing sites like Kilifi Old Ferry,Vidazini and Boabab among other sites, where they buy raw fish, then fry them and later sell them at Kwa CharoWa Mae, Kibaoni and Kisumu Ndogo respectively.
Due to the harsh economic situation, it has been revealed that these women fish mongers often engage in sexual relationships with the fishermen who in return give them fish to go and sell.
The fishermen take advantage of the fact that the women do not have any or enough money to purchase raw fish, and therefore sex becomes their bargain.
The women fish mongers at Mnarani and Old Ferry landing sites said that by engaging in sex with the fishermen they are assured of getting fish to sell. “We use the proceeds from the sale of fish to fend for our families.
Start up capital
Fatuma Ali chairlady of Mnarani women fish mongers said most women do not have start up capital and majority have resorted to sex to remain in the business.
Ali also noted that many single parents are amongst the scores of women engaging in the business thus the desperation to fend for their children.
She further noted that most women engaging in sexual relations with the fishermen do so without using any form of protection thus making them prone to infections like HIV & AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Mnarani fishermen chairman Kassim Shali said the women fishmongers have been forced to engage in sex with these fishermen due to the harsh economic situation.
However, he has been organising forums to educate them on the importance of practicing safe sex.
“Let’s try and protect these women and not take advantage of their situation by forcing them to engage in sex. Instead lets sell them fish at a low cost, so that they can sell to their customers and get enough money to cater for their families,” he said during an interview with a reporter at the landing site.
The chairman also urged the NGOS conducting Reproductive health programs in Kilifi County to extend their trainings to the fishermen and also the fish mongers.
Charo wa mae market is one of the major markets where these fish mongers sell their fried fish to various customers.
Sidi Charo one of the fish mongers at the market said that Pwani University students are their regular and major customers in buying fish. She also urged the fishermen to adopt modern fishing methods so that they can be assured of constant supply of fish for their customers.
Kilifi County Executive Member of Health Hon Rachael Musyoki said she is aware of the challenges facing the women fish mongers and that the county has organised for more educative forums and services to be taken to both the fish mongers and the fishermen.
Kilifi County hospital is also taking statistics for these fish mongers so that they can start benefiting from other health programs soon.