Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Jaboya: The Fish for Sex Trade


Before living on the islands we had known that commercial sex was a problem on the islands leading to the spread of HIV. However, commercial sex to us meant a few prostitutes in the local bar selling sex for extra cash to the fisherman who could afford it. What we have come to understand through living in these areas and hearing the stories of those who live there, is that the exchange of sex is not an isolated practice, but a system which the fishing society revolves around.

The system, locally called "jaboya," involves the trade of a sexual relationship for the ability to obtain fish for sale. The men catch the fish, and women sell the fish locally, where others are sent for export. In order for a woman to obtain fish to sell locally, she must have a relationship with a fisherman. Without a boyfriend, a woman has little chance of having access to fish when the boats come in. The more relationships she has, the more likely she is to be able to obtain fish. If the woman wants to transport her fish to local markets aboard matatus, she often is forced to once again exchange sex with the "tauts" (or men who load the roofs of the trucks) in order to get their fish transported.

It is difficult to describe, but this is a system that goes much deeper than standard prostitution. Indeed, there are still "bar-girls" or commercial sex workers in the bars in these areas. However, the jaboya system is a social and economic system that pervades every aspect of these societies. The jaboya women are forced into having multiple sexual relationships with migrant fisherman and tauts in order to provide what is necessary for them and their children to survive. Often they are women widowed by HIV positive fisherman who have no other way of providing for their families.

In order for change to be made in this area, the structural violence of the jaboya system must be broken. An effective intervention must address the fishing industry, poverty, as well as the medical aspects of HIV.

2 comments:

dan said...

The issue of Jaboya has increased the no of HIV VICTIMS AND THERE IS A HIGH NEED TO DO AWAY WITH IT HENCE THE PERCENTAGE OF THE TRANSMISSION WILL GO DOWN ALONG THE LAKE REGION.
WHEN THE INFECTION RATES ARE COMPARE IN KENYA THEN YOU WILL REALIZE THAT THE PERCENTAGE WHICH LAKE REGON RECORDS IS HIGHER AS COMPARED TO OTHER REGION JUST BECOUSE OF JABOYA CASE.I THEREFORE CALL FOR A SERIOUS CAMPAIN A GAINAST JABOYA SO AS TO REDUCE CASES OF INFECTION IN THE LAKE VICTORIA REGION.comment is given by Daniel Odhiambo,Email;rusinga_dan@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Just as I had said early about the in balance ratio of HIV AIDS along the Lake region and other places. Some philosophers have said that the poverty level also increases with closer to the lake one might be, therefore the issue of Jaboya is much encouraged with fishing policies which have not been laid down well in kenya. For instance a woman may have money to purchase fish but unfortunatrely she can not be given that chance to the same due to Failure to have sexual relationship with the TAJIRI one who owns the fishing gears.

lack of banking knowledge among the fishermen has also increases cases of Jaboya, for instance with the Omena fishing where one can fish for about 21 days and gets daily income of averagelly ksh 700, which translates to ksh 14700 minimum. At the end of the month you will find a fisherman with not even single cent and if you do the investigatiopn you will realize that the entire amount was used in the local brew to drink Changaa.

I therefore recomend that for us to achieve something on campaign against Jaboya Issue then we need to put alot of pressure to the government to define some policies gurding Fishing in relation to how fishermen payment should be done and not on daily basis
Fishermen should be encouraged to inmvest with their money

We need to lay down afew policies to regard BMU- Beach Management Unit in relation to how fish is distributed to enable all to access it

Last but not least we need to encourage women especially widows finacially to enable them venture into business instead of waiting for Jaboya to provide something for the family members.

There is also need to discourage any howly wife inheritance along the lake region where you may find one inheriting 4 women in a small village with total population of 300 people.