"Zeva's eyes filled with tears as the 10-year-old's father took her by the arm and handed her over to the man from whom he had borrowed 50,000 Afghanis, or about $1,000. "I cannot pay you in any other way. Take my daughter," said Gul Miran, 42, a farmer in Nangarhar province.
Says the buyer, "In a year or 18 months I will marry her off to my youngest son," he said. "He is 19 years old and has been married to his first wife for two years but has not had a child yet."
Zakira was given away in marriage to stop a blood feud. Her uncle had murdered a man and, rather than start a round of revenge killings between the families, 20-year-old Zakira was bestowed on the murdered man's brother who happened to be three times her age.
Afghan families often sell their daughters for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, labor, domestic servitude, slavery, and even the removal of body organs. Human Rights groups report that up to 60 to 80% of all marriages were forced. BNI has posted videos of some of the hundreds of young Afghan women who kill themselves by self-immolation, often in protest of a forced marriage, domestic violence, or a lack of respect for their rights.
Girls between 5 and 15 years old are sold for around $1,000 or an equivalent amount of sheep. Sometimes women and girls are kidnapped and forced into marriages, pushed into prostitution and often used to settle debts or to resolve conflicts. Internationally,Afghan women and girls are being trafficked primarily to Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
What happens to young girls in Afghanistan who run away from forced marriages in desperate search of freedom? They are whipped and hit with sticks, leather straps, and rods, over and over and over. And the men that beat them? Well, their actions are justified. After all, these girls should know better."