Sextortion: the hidden face of land corruption

July 2019
Nicole Mathot

Argues that sexual extortion or ‘sextortion’ is a pervasive but often hidden form of corruption in which instead of money as a bribe, sexual favours are extorted in exchange for the provision of services or goods. This touches the land sector but remains largely hidden and unaddressed. It often occurs where land governance and women’s rights are weak. In traditional anti-corruption discourse explicit references to human rights, including women’s rights, are rare. Cultural barriers and the fear of stigmatization and retaliation also play a part in this under-reporting. Cites the work of Mokoro’s Elizabeth Daley and her Women’s Land Tenure Security Project (WOLTS) in Tanzania and Mongolia which found examples of sextortion occurring as access to communal pastoral land decreased due to expanding mining activities. Daley believes that social norms can be influenced to become more inclusive, and WOLTS has been testing approaches to building safe spaces where women and men, young and old, villagers and traditional leaders can meet and discuss the management of land and natural resources. Concludes that naming and shaming and literally spreading the word ‘sextortion’ is an important catalyst to finding ways to discuss this taboo issue and put it on the international political agenda.

(Originally published on the Land Portal).