Kitten, that goes for the entire region... I think the whole mistreatment of women is cultural and mistreatment of fish is greed, im not so sure they can be put together like that. I see plenty o stores in the US that sell fish in small tanks, ie, the hundred of petco and petsmart stores that try to house cichflids in tanks the same size as those that house neon tetras...
also as for prices, basic economics dictates that price is directly correlated with demand and supply. In general, saltwater fish are more expensive that freshwater because they have a lower supply. It is possible that in your area kwtblack, that freshwater fish are in higher demand. When that happens, its not unusual for the store to hike up prices. The only way to counter this is increase supply which would mean more stores in the area that will sell or cheaper.
Even in the US, rarer beautiful fish like discus will sell for 70-100 dollars but a neon tetra will sell for a dollar. Discus are not very high in supply and only demanded by the most experienced and/or ambitious fishkeepers so the prices stay high. Neon tetras are bred by the thousands and sold by the thousands (actually its very likely that neons are bred and sold in the millions..) so its only a buck each.
I'm not defending their mistreatment of fish and ridiculous prices. I just want to point out that the economics of greed is what facilitates trade and that fairness is relative to the area in which the trade occurs.