Transactional Fish-for-Sex Relationships Amid Declining Fish Access in Kenya

Kathryn J. Fiorella, Carol S. Camlin, Charles R. Salmen, Ruth Omondi, Matthew D. Hickey, Dan O. Omollo, Erin M. Milner, Elizabeth A. Bukusi, Lia C.H. Fernald, Justin S. Brashares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Women's access to natural resources for food and livelihoods is shaped by resource availability, income, and the gender dynamics that mediate access. In fisheries, where men often fish but women comprise 90% of traders, transactional sex is among the strategies women use to access resources. Using the case of Lake Victoria, we employed mixed methods (in-depth interviews, n = 30; cross-sectional survey, n = 303) to analyze the influence of fish declines on fish-for-sex relationships. We found that fish declines affect relationship duration and women's bargaining power. Our results have broad implications for the dynamics of economies dependent on increasingly scarce resources throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-332
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Development
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the women and men who participated in this study for sharing their experiences and insights. We are grateful for support from Organic Health Response-Ekialo Kiona Center’s Research Department, staff, and volunteers. We thank, also, Louise Fortmann, Isha Ray, Erika Gavenus, and Veronica Chew for their feedback on the formulation of this study and valuable comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. We are grateful to three anonymous reviewers for their salient feedback on this manuscript. This work was supported by NSF-GEO grant CNH115057 as well as by the Andrew and Mary Thompson Rocca Dissertation Fellowship, One Health Summer Research Grant, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program & Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, and Philomathia Fellowship (to K.J.F.); Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, K01MH093205 (to C.S.C.); UCSF PACCTR and Global Health Pathways Research Program (to C.R.S); Doris Duke Charitable Foundation International Clinical Research Fellowship (to M.D.H); and UC Berkeley Center for Global Public Health Fellowship (to E.M.M.). This study is published with the permission of the Director, KEMRI.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Food insecurity
  • Gender
  • Global change
  • HIV
  • Natural resources
  • Public health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Transactional Fish-for-Sex Relationships Amid Declining Fish Access in Kenya'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this