An Afghan father says he felt “broken” after he was forced to sell his 9-year-old daughter as a child bride in order to afford food for his family.
Abdul Malik broke down in tears last week on the day of the sale of his daughter, Parwana, to a 55-year-old buyer named Qorban, CNN reported.
“This is your bride. Please take care of her — you are responsible for her now, please don’t beat her,” Malik told the older man as he wept.
The family lives in an Afghan displacement camp in the northwestern Badghis province.
Malik said that he felt “broken” with guilt, shame and worry over giving away his daughter, but ultimately he believed that he had no choice but to go through with the sale.
He said that he had already borrowed “lots of money” from relatives and looked unsuccessfully for employment, while his wife had resorted to begging for food.
“We are eight family members,” he told the outlet. “I have to sell to keep other family members alive.”
In exchange for the girl, Qorban paid 200,000 Afghanis in the form of sheep, land and cash.
He said that he doesn’t intend to marry the child, but to have her work in his household.
“(Parwana) was cheap, and her father was very poor and he needs money,” Qorban told the CNN. “She will be working in my home. I won’t beat her. I will treat her like a family member. I will be kind.”
The transaction comes as many Afghan families have struggled to afford basic necessities since the Taliban takeover in August.
“Day by day, the numbers are increasing of families selling their children,” human rights activist Mohammad Naiem Nazem told CNN. “Lack of food, lack of work, the families feel they have to do this.”