The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (118): The Commodification of Children

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child marriage map

(source, click image to enlarge)

Taj Mohammad tries hard to hold back his tears as he describes the most painful decision of his life.

“I had to sell my six-year-old daughter Naghma to a relative to settle an old debt,” Mr Mohammad says, staring blankly at the tattered tarpaulin roof of his small mud shelter.

A shy girl with a smiling face, Naghma is now engaged to a boy 10 years older than her. Mr Mohammad says his daughter may have to leave for the boy’s home in Helmand‘s Sangin district in a year.

His wife and mother-in-law sob inconsolably as they try to protect Naghma and her seven siblings from the harsh Afghan winter outside.

“Everyone in the family is sad,” says Naghma’s grandmother, who was herself a child bride. “We cry. We are in pain. But what else could we do?” she asks. …

“To keep my family alive, I took a loan of $2,500 [about £1,600] from a distant relative,” Mr Mohammad says. …

He says he was struggling to come to terms with the loss of his three-year-old son and an uncle, both of whom died in the cold earlier this month, when the distant relative sent a message demanding his money back.

“He wanted his money back. But I couldn’t pay. No-one would lend money to me,” he says.

“Then a relative suggested that I give my daughter in lieu of money.” (source)

More on child marriage and commodification. More absurd human rights violations.

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