There is a growing culture of teenage girls trading sex for fish in the coastal communities of Half Assini in the Jomoro District of the Western Region. A JoyNews report indicates that some of the fishermen in the coastal community exploit the girls for sex during periods when they have substantial harvests.
These teenage girls who help take care of their families’ upkeep, go to the beach during harvest to solicit some fish for their homes. However, they have become targets of sexual exploitation, paying for every fish they have been given through sex. The natives of Half Assini have termed this ‘sex for fish’. The phenomenon has increased the rate of teenage pregnancy and single motherhood in the area.
In an interview with JoyNews on February 12, Irene Obeng, Deputy Manager of the Jomoro Fishery Commission, said that fishermen take advantage of young girls due to their age “The girls are young, so the fishermen take advantage of the situation and have sex with them, fish for sex is prevalent in the community,” she added.
Maxwell, a fisherman in Jomoro with more than a decade of fishing experience also said, “Everybody struggles for the fish when it arrives, because of this if you are not fast you will not get some. “But, other people go to the fishermen straight for fish, it is not for free. So you give me fish, I give you sex, it is a barter system,” he added.
According to Maxwell, married women are also being exploited sexually when they plead with the fishermen for fish. A victim of sexual exploitation, Adwoa, a 17-year-old single parent, revealed that she met the father of her child in these circumstances. When they started dating, Adwoa said he brought home the fish, sold some to earn money and used the rest to feed the family.
However, she revealed that they parted ways after she found out she was using ‘sex for fish’ to lure in other girls for sexual relationships. One teacher in the area told JoyNews that she has seen a number of girls drop out of school because of teenage pregnancy, some of which are a result of transactional sex.
Source: Mavis Sekyibea Addo