4-Year-Old Sold As Bride For Food! Father Pleaded The Husband Not To Beat Her.
Since the Taliban had taken over Afghanistan in August, the country’s economy has been on the brink of collapse and many families, especially the poorest ones, have felt the effects of the changes as international humanitarian aid that they relied on, has been put on hold. As a result of this many families, to get by in some way, have resulted in the illegal practice of selling their children under the age of 15, mainly girls, some even as young as 4. What are the stories of some of the girls that are being sold by their families and just what had led them to make such a decision? Read on to find out the horrific realities of the lives of these young girls in Afghanistan.
The Afghan Crisis
In light of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan back in August, the country has suffered severely. As a result, its economy is on the brink of collapse. The value of the currency has suffered as well even though hard notes are in short supply and many Afghanis have had their assets from the U.S or other countries frozen. All the while, the prices for basic goods such as food have soared due to shortages, with the United Nations warning that it could soon run dangerously low. As a direct result of this, according to CNN, over 20 million of the population don’t know where their next meal will come from and around 3.2 million children under the ages of 5 will face acute malnutrition. Due to the Taliban being in charge, international aid foundations, that account for 75% of the state spending, have frozen their aid for those in the country, which given that a third of the population there survives on less than $2 per day, it had made people take drastic measures. And some really see no way out, read on to find out what has been going on.
Family’s Desperate Move
For four years, Parwana and her family had been living in an Afghan displacement camp in northwestern Badghis province for the past four years. Prior to the Taliban taking over, her father Abdul has worked for $3 per day, which had just about allowed the family to provide for their most basic needs, but following the take over he had been unable to find any work. Speaking with CNN reporters who had reported on the case, the man had said that he searched unsuccessfully for work and borrowed money from relatives, adding that even his wife had begged other camp residents for food but sadly nothing had worked.
9-Year-Old For Sale
Given that the family of eight has been struggling more and more, Abdul felt that he had no choice but to sell his 9-year-old daughter Parwana to help his family survive, having already been forced to sell his 12-year-old daughter months ago. It is not a decision that the man has made lightly, as he is broken with guilt at what he had to do and is unable to sleep at night. The girl had tried to convince her parents not to do this, as she wants to stay in school, having hoped to one day become a teacher but yet even at such a young age she knows the realities. Speaking with the reporters she said, “My father has sold me because we don’t have bread, rice, or flour. He has sold me to an old.” What will the girl’s life look like? Read on to find out.
The man who brought the 9-year-old is a man named Qorban who claims he is 55-years-old. For the sale of his daughter, Abdul received a payment of 200,000 Afghanis which is just over $2000 but that will only sustain the family for a few more months before once again they will need to find another way to raise funds, and the patriarch of the family fears he might have to sell his other child, a 2-year-old daughter. When the man arrived to collect the child, she stood beside her mother, covered in black from head to toe, a flower garland around her neck, her face hidden from the new husband and family. Before the man left with the child, a weeping Abdul told him, “This is your bride. Please take care of her. You are responsible for her now, please don’t beat her.”
Qorban Speaks To Reporters
The ‘old man’ as Parwana called him, nodded at Abdul’s words before grabbing the girl’s arm and leading the small child towards the door. The girl had struggled, digging her feet into the ground but her efforts were futile as she was led away to a car and her new home. According to the report, the man insisted that he would look after Parwana as his child and said that he has a wife already. Speaking with reporters he said, “She was cheap, and her father was very poor and he needs money. She will be working in my home. I won’t beat her. I will treat her like a family member. I will be kind.” Though as they left, Abdul stressed that he has no power over what happens to his daughter now and recalled that 55-year-old told him that he was paying for the girl, and it was none of his business what he would do with her. Though there are many other girls facing the same fate as Parwana and the story of one might shock you.
Child Bride To Pay Off Debts
One Afghan man named Ibrahim has found himself in a tight spot. Owning one man 200,000 Afghanis (just over $2000) he was taken to a Taliban-run prison and threatened to be sent off to jail if he didn’t pay the money back. Saying that he would do it within a month, he soon ran out of time and did what many other families had to resort to doing...selling their young daughter. Speaking with CNN the man said he had no choice, “I don’t know what to do. Even if I don’t give him my daughters, he will take them.” The man also added that he is ashamed that he has had to result to such a thing. His 10-year-old daughter Magul didn’t want to leave her family and go be with the 70-year-old and has even threatened to kill herself if they make her go.
Selling A Child As Young As 4
A family of nine from the Ghor province is making the same tough decision as the girl’s disabled father is unable to work. This family is selling two daughters for 100,000 Afghanis ($1000) each. The two girls are 9-year-old Lithan and 4-year-old Zaiton. When reporters asked the youngest of the girls if she understands why she must be sold, she simply replied, “Because we are a poor family and we don’t have food to eat.” It has also been reported that the girl’s grandmother Rokshana is distraught over the news, saying that had they had food or someone to help them, they wouldn’t be forced to do this.
It’s Getting Worse
After the Taliban take over the country, many girls in Afghanistan have been out of school and it is not known when they might be allowed back to attend classes. Associate director of the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch, Heather Barr, has said that as long as these girls are in school, their families are invested in their future. But as soon as they fall out of education, it suddenly becomes much more likely that she will be married off. And once a girl is sold as a child bride, it is extremely unlikely that she will continue her education. Instead, many of these girls are forced to either work or have nonconsensual sex with their buyers. Mohammad Niem Nazem, a human rights activist in Badghis spoke with CNN and said, “Day by day, the numbers are increasing of families selling their children. Lack of food, lack of work, the families feel they have to do this.”
To truly address the unfolding crisis in #Afghanistan we must look through the eyes of children.— Education Cannot Wait (@EduCannotWait) October 27, 2021
Afghan girls, boys & their families are bearing the brunt of years of conflict & the current economic crisis.
Education provides safety, hope & is often, lifesaving.@yasminesherif1pic.twitter.com/XN7wA7LCVZ
Taliban Speaks Out
The humanitarian crisis is stretching across all of Afghanistan and not just the aforementioned regions. The Taliban themselves had spoken out about international aid being halted and have asked for it to once against be resumed as the people are in need of it. Local Taliban leaders in Badghis had said that they are planning on distributing food to families that are struggling. Given that the sale of children is prohibited by Islamic Sharia law, a spokesperson from the Taliban’s Justice Department had spoken with CNN and spoke of their outlook on this, “Once we implement this plan, if they continue to sell their kids we will put them in jail.”
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Photos: CNN YouTube
Soon it is #PeaceDay. Our hearts go out to the people of #Afghanistan & especially Afghan women & children.@UNESCO is scaling up efforts to help restore peace & ensure progress made is kept in place. #HumanRights International Day of Peace pic.twitter.com/68zhMu0y5y— UNESCO ?️ #Education #Sciences #Culture ??? (@UNESCO) September 21, 2021