A 6-year-old Afghani girl was recently forced to marry a 55-year-old man in a religious ceremony after her father sold her in exchange for a goat. The “husband,” Seyed Abdolkarim, and the girl’s father were arrested after an anxious relative raised the alarm about the uncommon union.
According to the girl’s father, who also received rice, tea, sugar and cooking oil for his daughter, Gharbiol, his family was so desperate for food he sold his child so he would have one less mouth to feed.
A video of the scandalous exchange shows the daughter in tears following her sale to the much older stranger. The girl’s father claimed that Abdolkarim promised not to have sex with the girl before she turns 18.
After the wedding, Abdolkarim reportedly took the girl to a relative’s house in Firozkoh, in Ghor province, saying she was his daughter.
But the relative raised the alarm, accusing Abdolkarim of ‘undressing her at night’ and alerting the women’s rights bureau in Ghor province.
The bureau has stated it will ensure the father is stripped of his parental rights and that it will pursue a divorce. The latter could be problematic, as divorce is frowned upon by religious clerics in Afghanistan.
Following her ordeal, the girl is back living with her mother in a safe house in Firozkoh.
Eerily, the odious incident took place just days after a 60-year-old Afghan cleric was arrested for kidnapping another six-year-old girl and marrying her, claiming that she was a ‘religious offering’ from her parents.
According to Afghan law, women can be married from age 16 and men from age 18. While it is not unusual for underage girls to get married off in Afghanistan, many Afghans expressed outrage on social media that a small child was sold in exchange for a goat and some food.