A 9-year-old girl was recently rescued from a marriage to an older man in Afghanistan, CNN reported on Thursday.
Human rights organization Too Young to Wed assisted in rescuing Parwana Malik after her father, who sold her, and the 55-year-old man who bought her, changed their minds.
“It is a moral imperative that the international community does not abandon the women and girls of Afghanistan,” Stephanie Sinclair, with Too Young to Wed, told CNN.
Last month, Parwana was sold because her father needed the money to support the rest of his family. The sale for $2,200 worth of goods was made against the wishes of Parwana’s mother and brother.
CNN accompanied the family when the transaction took place in the mountains of Afghanistan, with Parwana telling the news outlet at the time her father “sold me to an old man.”
“My father has sold me because we don’t have bread, rice and flour,” Parwana said.
After two weeks with the man, she reported mistreatment. “They treated me badly, they were cursing me, they were waking me up early and making me work.”
After CNN’s story aired, bad publicity surrounded the father and the older man. The two worked out an arrangement for Parwana to be returned, while the family would owe him the $2,200.
Marriage under the age of 18 is illegal in Afghanistan, but it is widespread. From 2018 to 2019, 83 child marriages and 10 cases of selling of children from six months to 17 years old in the Herat and Baghdis provinces were reported, according to the United Nations.
After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, the country has fallen into crushing poverty, with 97 percent of Afghans estimated to reach poverty level by 2022.
Marriages in return for dowries were common even before the takeover, the U.N. added.