- In Afghanistan, food and money-loving parents forced to sell their children
- Father sold his 10-year-old daughter for $ 1000 for marriage, mother is protesting
- Many parents are ready to sell their boys in the camp, said – there is no other way
A woman fights to save her daughter in a vast settlement of people displaced by drought and war in western Afghanistan. Aziz Gul’s husband sold their 10-year-old daughter for marriage without informing her so that she could support their five children with the money received in return. Gul’s husband said that ‘to save the life of the rest, he had to sacrifice one’. The number of destitute people in Afghanistan is increasing. These people, who are obsessed with money, are taking many such decisions which are indicating the plight of the country.
Aid-dependent Afghanistan’s economy was already in shambles when the Taliban seized power in mid-August amid the withdrawal of US and NATO troops. The international community confiscated Afghanistan’s assets abroad and withheld financial aid. The consequences for a country plagued by war, drought and the coronavirus pandemic have been disastrous. Employees have not been paid salaries for months. Malnutrition is the most worrying and aid organizations say more than half the population is facing a food crisis.
Families selling children to eat
Asunth Charles, national director of aid organization ‘World Vision’ in Afghanistan, said, ‘The situation in this country is getting worse day by day, especially children are the most affected by it.’ Charles runs health clinics for displaced people near the western city of Herat. He said, ‘Today I am very sad to see that many families are obsessed with food grains and they are ready to sell their children also to feed other family members.’
A mother fighting to save her daughter
Marriage of very young girls is common in this region. The groom’s family pays money to the girl’s family in exchange for the deal, and the girl usually lives with her parents until she turns 15. Many people are trying to sell their sons as well. In this patriarchal, male-dominated society, Gul is opposing her daughter being sold. Gul herself got married at the age of 15 and now she does not want this injustice to happen to her daughter Kandi Gul. Gul says that if her daughter is taken away from her, she will kill herself.
Divorce given to daughter but from where will she give 1000 dollars
Gul’s husband told that he had sold Kandi to which he told her husband, ‘It was much better to die than to do this.’ Gul gathered her brother and the village elders and with their help secured a ‘divorce’ for Kandi on the condition that she would pay the 100,000 afghani (about $1,000) her husband had received, which she did not have. Gul’s husband is absconding since the incident. The Taliban government has recently banned forced marriages. Gul said, ‘I am very disappointed. Sometimes the thought comes that if I can’t give money to pay these people and keep my daughter with me, I kill myself, but then I think of other kids that they will be killed after I’m gone. what will happen? Who will feed them?’
Daughters selling for wife’s treatment
His eldest daughter is 12 years old, his youngest and sixth daughter is just two months old. In another part of the camp, Hamid Abdullah, a father of four, was also selling his underage daughters for marriage as he did not have money to pay for the treatment of his ailing wife, who is due to give birth to a fifth child. Abdullah said that he could not repay the loan money for the treatment of his wife. Three years ago he got money for the marriage of his eldest daughter Hoshran who is now seven years old.
There was no other option but to sell the girl child.
The family that bought Hoshran is waiting for him to grow up before paying and taking the full amount. But Abdullah now needs money, so he is trying to get his second daughter, six-year-old Nazia, married for around 20,000–30,000 afghani ($200–300). Abdullah’s wife Bibi Jaan said he had no other option but it was a difficult decision. ‘When we made this decision, it was as if someone had taken a part of my body from me.’
Family going to sell eight year old son
Another displaced family in neighboring Badghis province is considering selling their eight-year-old son Salahuddin. His mother Gulab (35) said, ‘I don’t want to sell my son, but I have to. No mother can do this to her child, but when you have no other option, you have to take a decision against your will.’ According to the United Nations, millions of people in Afghanistan are facing starvation. 32 lakh children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition. World Vision’s national director for Afghanistan, Charles, said the humanitarian aid fund was desperately needed.