Afghans ‘selling off babies’ as child marriage spikes amid collapse of food supply 1 week ago

Afghans ‘selling off babies’ as child marriage spikes amid collapse of food supply

Reports of child marriage have increased since the Taliban regained control of the country

Afghanistan’s collapsed economy is forcing citizens to sell off their kids into child marriage in a desperate attempt to regain some financial control over their lives.

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Since the Taliban took over the country in August, reports of child marriages and the selling of kids have made headlines across the world. Sources say that daughters as young as 20 days old are being offered in exchange for dowry, reports the UN’s agency for children.

Last month, CNN spoke to a family who was forced to sell nine-year-old Parwana Malik to a 55-year-old man for 200,000 Afghanis (approximately $2,100 or £1,570).

In the nearby Ghor province, a 10-year-old girl was also sold to a 70-year-old man to cover the families debts.

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“I really don’t want him. If they make me go, I will kill myself. I don’t want to leave my parents,” the girl told CNN.

A labourer from the capital of Kabul was also paid $3,000 (£2,243) in dowry for his 13 and 15-year-old daughters.

“I had no other way to feed my family and pay off my debt. What else could I have done? I desperately hope I won’t have to marry off my youngest daughter,” he told Reuters.

Women’s rights activist Wazhma Frogh said she heard reports of child sales every day and believes these girls will be forced into sex before reaching puberty.

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“It paralysed [my] heart hearing these stories... It’s not a marriage. It’s child rape,” she told Reuters.

“The number of cases has increased so much because of starvation. People have nothing and cannot feed their children. It’s completely illegal, and not allowed in religion.”

The UN and charity groups around the world have warned that children especially are at severe risk of starvation. With winter approaching, they also believe that 97 per cent of families will fall below the poverty line by mid-2022.

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While the US has blocked nearly $9.5bn in assets to stop the Taliban from accessing money, Pakistan announced on Monday that it would provide $28m (£21m) in food and other humanitarian assistance to the ailing country.

This is an ongoing issue and one that will continue to plague the Afghan people due to economic collapse, political struggle, and an immeasurable number of cards stacked against them.

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