Women exchange sex with fish -MHRC – Capital Radio Malawi
17 July, 2024

Women exchange sex with fish -MHRC

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) Deputy Executive Secretary Winston Mwafuliwa has voiced concerns over the prevalent practice of exchanging sex for fish along the lakeshore areas of Malawi.

Mwafulirwa made the remarks on Monday during a capacity building meeting organised by MHRC, with financial support from the Embassy of Iceland, on human rights and sex discrimination for Salima Gender Technical Working Group.

Mwafulirwa spoke about the negative impact of sexual exchange practice on the human rights of women and young girls.

Mwafuliwa said: “Sex for fish is aggravating some human rights, especially of women and young girls. Lack of reporting and knowledge, coupled with economic vulnerabilities, perpetuate this norm, hindering women’s empowerment and impeding overall development.

“Our targeted sensitisation efforts and engagement with beach committees and stakeholders are striving to eradicate the sex for fish culture and foster sustainable development in Malawi’s lakeshore regions, so this is one of our efforts to deal with the malpractice,” said Mwafuliwa.

District Gender Officer for Salima District, Friness Samaliya, emphasised the need for sensitisation and community engagement, highlighting that it plays a pivotal law in behaviour and mindset change among communities.

“We are working with local leaders and beach committees to sensitise women and girls against exchanging sex for fish. It is demeaning and contributes to the spread of STIs and HIV/AIDS. With that, most families are left vulnerable as the women can no longer provide for their families,” she said.

Salima District Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) chairperson Paul Duncan highlighted that the sensitisation meetings will give women and girls a platform to speak out on issues affecting them and how to deal with the issues, as nothing can be achieved with no initiatives.

“All we need to make sure of is that rights of all people are protected, and with these kind of interventions am certain that a lot of things will come to change. A lot of women’s rights along the lakeshore have been infringed but this time around they will come to realise their rights and make use of them,” said Duncan.

The MHRC initiative is aiming at fostering a deeper understanding of human rights principles and gender equality as well as best practices for the fishing communities in addressing transactional sex.

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