AFGHANISTAN – Earlier this week, CNN reported that amidst a growing humanitarian aid crisis, some families in Afghanistan are selling their young daughters into slavery or marriage in order to provide their other children with food.
CNN captured exclusive interviews with a nine-year-old girl, her father, and the 55-year-old man who purchased the girl.
“They tell CNN they have no choice,” CNN reported, “but to sell their young daughters into some sort of twisted form of marriage.”
One father of the nine-year-old girl named Parwana, whose family is living in a displaced resident camp, was interviewed on camera, at great risk for his own safety. “I have no work,” he said, “no money, no food. I have to sell my daughter. I have no other choice.”
“My father,” Parwana told the camera, “who sold me because we don’t have bread, rice, and flour, he has sold me to an old man.”
The 55-year-old man bought Parwana for a little over $2,000 US dollars.
More than half of the Afghan population doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from. The money made from Parwana’s sale will help the family feed their other children.
CNN captured their meeting on camera. Parwana covered her face and cried.
During the meeting, Parwana’s father said, “This is your bride. Please take care of her.”
The man replied, “Of course I will take care of her.” He then pulled her by the arm out of the house.
Parwana tried to get away from him as he escorted her out of the home, but her mother helped the man force her to leave.
Parwana said she wanted to go to school to be a teacher.
Selling children into marriage has gotten more popular with the extreme economic and humanitarian aid crisis. When the Taliban took over, billions of dollars were frozen in the banks and wages haven’t been paid to many residents.
Over three million children under the age of five will face malnutrition in the coming winter months, CNN said.
While the US has pledged a billion dollars to help the Afghan people, only half has been sent due to the ruling of the Taliban and the international majority declining to recognize the terrorist’s leadership in the country.
The Taliban has spoken out, saying “We are asking aid agencies to come back and help these poor people,” one Taliban official said. “Otherwise, the crisis will worsen.”
The family in the photograph above is attempting to sell two daughters- one who is nine and one who is four- into marriage for $1,000 US dollars each.
The four-year-old told CNN that her family is attempting to sell her “because we are a poor family and have no food to eat.” When asked if she’s scared, the girl responded, “Yes I am.”
Another father told the camera that he is “so ashamed” that he has to sell his 10-year-old daughter because he owes his 70-year-old neighbor money and can’t pay it back. He had borrowed money to feed his family.
The 10-year-old girl said, “If they push me to marry the old man, I will kill myself. I don’t want to leave my parents.”
CNN updated the report to say that the last girl pictured was set to be handed over to the elderly man in the “coming days.”
Of course, child marriage has been a problem before the Taliban resumed control of Afghanistan, but now it’s more prominent and out in the open, according to local journalists.
The UN predicts that if the humanitarian aid crisis isn’t addressed, by mid-2022, 97% of Afghans will be living below poverty level.