A man in Afghanistan says he was forced to sell his six-year-old daughter to settle an old debt. The child, Naghma, was sold to a family member as a child bride. Her fiance is 16 years old.
Naghma’s Father, Taj Mohammad, states that the sale of his daughter was a necessity. Mohammad had borrowed money from a distant relative. He stresses that he needed the money to feed, house and protect his family.
The Mohammad family was eventually forced to leave their home and move to a refugee camp due to increasing poverty and unrest. They recently received a letter from the relative demanding that he pay back the loan. As the family is currently living in a mud shack in the refugee camp, there is no money to give.
As reported by BBC, the relative suggested that he would accept six-year-old Naghma as a child bride to settle the debt. Mohammad felt that he did not have a choice. He has no money and was unable to find anyone willing to lend it to him.
Although 16 is the legal age for marriage in Afghanistan, young girls are commonly sold as brides anyway. As reported by Daily Mail, in some countries it is a common process:
“Although child marriage is against the law in many countries, and international treaties forbid the practice, it is estimates that about 51 million girls below age 18 are currently married, often under the cover of darkness and in secret. In Afghanistan alone, it is believed that approximately 57 per cent of girls wed before the legal age of 16.”
Naghma’s father and the relative that bought her both acknowledge that the practice is against Afghan and international laws. Tribal elders have approved the sale.
It is expected that six-year-old Naghma will leave her home and move in the other family within the next year. Her father’s debt will then be settled. Her parents said that she is too young to understand what is happening to her.