‘This is your bride’: Horrific moment parents sell daughter, 9, to man, 55

·3-min read

A nine-year-old Afghan girl was sold as a child bride to a complete stranger, just so her family could put food on the table.

Parwana Malik and her family have lived at an Afghan displacement camp in the country's northwest, living off humanitarian aid and earning next to nothing working menial jobs, CNN reported.

Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan earlier this year, things have become harder for them, with aid drying up and Afghanistan's economy collapsing.

Parwana was sold to a man aged in his 50s, her family had no other choice, CNN reported. The money they get from the sale will sustain them for a few months.

Nine-year-old Parwana Malik was sold as a child bride to a man in his 50s. Source: CNN
Nine-year-old Parwana Malik was sold as a child bride to a man in his 50s. Source: CNN

Qorban, the buyer, gave Parwana's father, Abdul Malik, roughly A$2900 worth of sheep, land and cash and he begged for his daughter to not be beaten, weeping as he handed her over.

"This is your bride. Please take care of her ... please don't beat her," Mr Malik said.

Parwana will be working in Qorban's home. He told CNN he would not beat her and he would treat her like family, promising to be kind.

However, this is not what Parwana wanted, she dreamed of becoming a teacher and wanted to continue with her education. With Qorban gripping her shoulder, she was reportedly dragged away from her family to a waiting car.

Mr Malik fears he will have to sell his two-year-old daughter if his financial situation does not change. Before the sale of Parwana he told CNN he was "broken".

Parwana Malik is led away from her Afghan family by a man in his 50s. Source: CNN
Parwana Malik, 9, is led away from her Afghan family by the 55-year-old man. Source: CNN

'Cataclysmic' situation unfolding in Afghanistan

According to CNN, out of sheer desperation, there has been more stories like Parwana's under the Taliban's rule.

While it is illegal across Afghanistan for children to be married off if they are under the age of 15, it has long been common in more rural areas of the country.

"It's absolutely cataclysmic," Heather Barr, associate director of the women's rights division at Human Rights Watch, told CNN.

In September, the United Nations development agency said Afghanistan was teetering on the brink of “universal poverty” which could become a reality in the middle of next year, unless urgent efforts are made to bolster local communities and their economies.

In November, a report from the UN said 22.8 million people in Afghanistan will face acute food insecurity.

This picture taken on October 17, 2021 shows men sitting at an Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Qala-i-Naw, Badghis Province.
Child marriage has been practised in Afghanistan for centuries, but war and climate change-related poverty have driven many families to resort to striking deals earlier in girls' lives. Source: AFP via Getty Images

"Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises - if not the worst - and food security has all but collapsed," David Beasley, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director said..

"This winter, millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation unless we can step up our life-saving assistance, and unless the economy can be resuscitated. 

"We are on a countdown to catastrophe and if we don’t act now, we will have a total disaster on our hands.”

In Badghis, local Taliban leaders have said they have a plan to distribute food to desperate families.

"Once we implement this plan, if they continue to sell their kids we will put them in jail," spokesperson from the Taliban's Justice Department, Mawlawai Jalaludin said according to CNN.

with AP

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