Afghan parents selling daughters in exchange for money to survive economic crisis

Afghanistan faced economic crisis soon after the Taliban took over the country. To address the financial downturn, a proscribed practice has reared its ugly head in many parts of the country — selling young girls into marriage to older men for money. Many displaced Afghan families in the recent months have been giving their barely adolescent daughters in marriage for money and sustenance.

One such story was surfaced recently when a family sold their nine-year-old Parwana Malik to 55-year-old Qorban last month, reported CNN.

Speaking to CNN, Parwana’s father Abdul Malik stated that he had already sold his 12-year-old daughter a couple of months ago. And now to make their ends meet, he was forced to sell off another daughter “to keep other family members alive”.

On the other side, Parwana said she wanted to study and become a teacher but her family’s acute financial circumstances have closed this door for her. Talking about her “marriage”, she fears that the “old man” would beat her and force her to work in his house.

The report suggested that the buyer Qorban two days later arrived at the Malik family’s home and paid 200,000 Afghanis (about $2,200) in the form of sheep, land and cash to Parwana’s father, and drove off with the girl.

While giving her daughter to the old man, Abdul Malik’s parting words to his daughter’s new owner were, “This is your bride. Please take care of her … please don’t beat her.”

Assuring that he would not do any harsh treatment, Qorban said he would be kind to Parwana and treat her like a family member.

Another such story has also surfaced in neighbouring Ghor province where 10-year-old Magul is worried at the prospect of being married off to a 70-year-old creditor her family owes money to. “I don’t want to leave my parents. If they make me go, I will kill myself,” an inconsolable Magul told CNN.

Just like Parwana and Magul, the career and future of several Afghan girls are shrouded in uncertainty. As the Taliban have barred women from secondary education and poverty on the rise, more and more girls are being pushed into the marriage market, ruining their otherwise bright future.