Mozambique: Human Rights Watch groups have received allegations against government officials by citizens of Mozambique that were affected by Cyclone Idai. The allegations involve community leaders requesting forced intimate encounters in exchange for food provided by the United Nations, for something as cheap as a bag of rice.

On Human Rights Watch, Zenaida Machado reports: “Real progress will only be possible if the Mozambican government and community leaders publicly commit to ending sexual exploitation and abuse of those needing humanitarian aid, and urgently investigate the Cyclone Idai cases that have been reported.”

Committing to real change in Mozambique

Committing to real change has been very difficult and dire for the Mozambican government.

Women have been subjected to these types of abuses for many years. Being forced to give intimate favors in exchange for existing humanitarian aid that was given freely by other nations and allowing exploitation for something as basic and common as the right to food is a sad situation. Our intergovernmental organizations could be doing a lot more to ensure that the aid that they provide is been delivered in the right manner.

Furthermore, it is a stark and commonly occurring problem in many countries where women and girls are subjected to these types of abuses for something as basic as having the right to food and eating. This is a serious impediment to the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 to "end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”

I know next time I visit my local McDonald’s I will think twice about how easy it is to access a packet of fries and chocolate sundae.

However, having said that, perhaps we can look at the state of this issue in more developed regions. Basically, it is happening worldwide, with what is now termed ‘survival sex’ being practiced in developed regions of the world. In particular, LGBT people are more likely to become at risk of these types of situations.

How do these situations arise, can it happen in the UK?

The Mirror reported on the Universal Credit issue that's ruffled feathers. According to them, "a woman has claimed she was forced to sell herself...and allow men to pay her to be hit and spat at because of the 'terrible' problems she had with Universal Credit. The woman said issues receiving vital benefits led her into the dark world of what is being called 'survival sex'."

Ultimately, one needs to look at what is driving this need to engage in survival sex?

What is fueling it? What feeds it? It is the power imbalances between many parties from employers to employees, landlords and tenants in tenancy rights, and the inability to access the kinds of legal and other services needed, Plus, there are social inequity and injustice, personal money mismanagement, alcohol and other drugs abuse, mental health, and low wages. Throw in unemployment, unaccountable and unethical employers, gender imbalance in the workplace, inadequate administering of government services by employees, racial, sexual and gender bias, corruption and many other reasons that lead to these types of failures.