We all know that earth’s climate is constantly changing for the worse. Every day, we get to hear about the ill-effects of our treatment of the planet. Countless people across the globe are suffering due to worsening environmental conditions and increasing shortage of natural resources. Herat and Baghdis in Afghanistan are two drought-hit regions where conditions are constantly worsening. And this situation in Afghanistan is forcing parents to live their worst nightmare.
Shocking and disheartening, but true nonetheless. Many parents there are under a lot of debt and have no one to turn to. So they are using the only asset they have, their children.
Yes, parents in these drought-hit provinces neither have money to pay off debts nor to buy food. As a result, they are selling, betrothing or marrying their children off. As per reports, about 161 children have been “sold” and/or betrothed in a period of four months.
UNICEF spokesperson Alison Parker said this about the situation in Afghanistan:
“The situation of children is dire in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the children are now becoming the collateral.”
The situation in Afghanistan was bad even before the drought hit these regions. A lot of households that were already in debt were hoping to pay them off after getting a good crop. But the droughts have made it nearly impossible.
“Prior to the drought, over 80 percent of households were already in debt. The practice of child marriage is sort of an ingrained social norm in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it is getting worse. Children are paying the price for conflict, children are paying the price for the drought.”
Girls as young as one-month-old are being sold & betrothed in Afghanistan. Not just this, of the 161 children “sold”, 6 were boys. This indicates towards a rise of child labour.
Suraya Pakzad, the head of Voice Of Women (Afghanistan) also expressed dismay over the matter. She and members of the Afghan civil societies are currently in Geneva participating in the international conference on Afghanistan.
While talking to the reporters in Geneva, here is what Suraya reportedly said:
“Girls aged between 8-12 years old (are being) sold to old men to solve the economic issues of their families.”
She also informed all about her encounter with a man who “sold” his 7-year-old daughter into marriage. This is what the heartbroken father told her:
“I love my daughter, I know what I did. I am suffering from that. But can you give me some option? I have five other daughters. I may not do the same to them if you give me some options today to feed my children.”
Suraya concluded that people there are in dire need of help:
“People are in desperate need of help, services. Particularly food.”
I don’t know what more to say about this. We worry about trivial things in life. But there are people in the world whose only way to survival is by selling their kids.