Child marriage and the sale of children in Afghanistan are no surprise – incidents have happened before. But with the coming to power of the Taliban, the phenomenon has become truly large-scale, and the age of young brides has significantly decreased.
An increasing number of Afghan families solve problems with survival through the sale of their young daughters – poverty and hunger reign in the country. Through “trade deals” or contracted marriages, parents are able to feed their remaining children.
Eight-year-old Asho was sold for 300,000 Afghans ($ 3,000) to a 23-year-old Afghan. But the money was not enough, the father decided to sell his youngest daughter, one and a half year old Shukriya, for $ 2800. Bibigul, Asho’s mother, says that hunger reigned in the family, and besides, it was necessary to pay off debts, so the daughter was sold:
“We just have no other choice. It’s not a good thing to do. God and his prophet never told us to do this.”
However, it is not at all necessary to pay for the purchase with money – as a rule, the girls’ parents are ready to accept livestock or weapons in exchange, and prices vary over a wide range. The father of the other two girls states:
“Najiba is my daughter. I sold her for 50,000 afghanis ($ 500). Her husband paid me 25,000. As soon as he pays the second part, he can take her.”
After the arrival of the Taliban, the situation in the country is unstable: the exchange rate of the national currency has fallen sharply, and many Afghans are experiencing financial difficulties. Food prices have jumped, and foreign aid has decreased.