In a desperate attempt to survive a debilitating drought in Afghanistan, a mother of three at a temporary camp for the destitute in Herat sold her six-year-old daughter to an older man so that her other children would not starve.
The crippling drought in Afghanistan has displaced more people than the ongoing war between the Government and the Taliban, according to the UN. Driven out of their homes and communities by a desperate lack of food, over 275,000 people have been forced into temporary camps.
One such family, led by a widow named Mamareen, was forced to make a difficult decision to avoid starvation. Mamareen, revealed to CNN that she sold her daughter, Akila, to a man living in a nearby tent named Najmuddin to feed her other children.
Revealing that Akila is unaware that she was now owned by another man, the widowed Mamareen shared that she sold her daughter for about $3000 but has only received $70 so far:
“I fled my village with my three children because of severe drought. To avoid starvation among my children, I gave my daughter to a man for about $3,000, but have only got $70 so far. I had no money, no food and no breadwinner – my husband was also killed.”
Najmuddin – who shared that he sought shelter in the temporary camps after his crops failed and his livestock perished – told reporters that he bought Akila to be a bride for his ten-year-old son, Sher Agha.
Defending that it does not matter that he bought a girl who is so young, Najmuddin reportedly said: “These things happen here. Even an old man marries a young girl. It happens.”
Mamareen is not the only parent to have sold her child to survive in the temporary camps. One father who declined to be named told CNN that he sold his four-year-old daughter in order to settle a debt.