In sub-Saharan Africa, having no food on the table leads women to engage in sex work. Since there is so much food insecurity in that part of the world, no food leads to more sex.
This is the dilemma that women and girls face. A study published by ICAP at Columbia University found that an extreme lack of food doubles the risk of women getting HIV in that region because it often leads them to participate in transactional sex.
Sex for fish
At Lake Malawi, women confronted with hunger or those trying to feed their families, resort to having sex with fishermen in order to get something to eat.
The practice has brought a lot of misery to women.
Cecelia Iman, secretary of the Village Beach Committee says, “If the prevalence of HIV infection is increasing in our area, it is largely because of fishermen. Women are too desperate for fish. And also most of the fishermen are just impregnating the women and then run away, leaving them to struggle in taking care of babies.”
While transactional sex between women and fishermen in Lake Malawi is extensive, dishonor, humiliation, and discrimination that goes with the practice make it difficult to identify those involved.
Aside from sexual activities for food and getting into forced marriages just to survive food shortages, there is the issue of limited access to basic sanitation services (e.g., menstrual and hygiene management) together with the lack of safe drinking water.
“Adolescent girls from highly food insecure areas in rural areas are considerably more likely to migrate from rural to urban locations than boys of the same age, because of weaker bargaining power and access to opportunities within the household. In doing so, many girls face heightened risks of coerced and transactional sex and exploitative labor, as well as social isolation,” said Phoebe Kasoga, Country Director, Plan International Malawi.
While women and girls in First World countries have so much sex and so much food, women in Africa do sex when there is no food. Sadly, they will also get so much HIV. They have to learn how to be a good partner.
On the other hand, there is a distinction of what love is.
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