Mother had ‘no other choice’ but to sell her 6-year-old daughter
By Nick Paton Walsh and Masoud Popalzai, CNN
Updated 4:24 AM ET, Thu November 22, 2018
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Herat, Afghanistan (CNN)An unprecedented drought in Afghanistan has led to families selling their children just to be able to feed their households.
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Outside Herat, in a refugee camp, a CNN cameraman met Mamareen, who has lost her husband to the war, her home to the climate and now her daughter to the urgent need to feed her other children. Akila, 6, is now, under the warped economy of this tent city, the possession of another family. Mamareen sold Akila for $3,000 to Najmuddin, who has promised her to his 10-year-old son, Sher Agha.
“I fled my village with my three children because of severe drought,” she says. “I came here thinking that I will receive some assistance, but I got nothing. To avoid starvation among my children, I gave my daughter to a man for about $3,000, but have only got $70 so far. I had no money, no food and no breadwinner — my husband was also killed.”
Asked if Akila knew her fate, she said: “She doesn’t know that I have sold her. How would she know? She is a child. But I had no other choice. Whether in tears or laughter, she will have to go. Who would sell a piece of her heart unless they really have to?”
A charitable act?
Her fate lay meters away, in another, richer tent in the camp, with Najmuddin, her purchaser. Part of this transaction is cultural — part of the mores of a society where girls have long been traded for dowries rather than being asked for consent. But to Najmuddin, this was an act of charity.
“Her family didn’t have anything to eat. They were hungry,” he said. “I know I am also poor, but I am sure I can pay it off slowly… in two to three years.”
The Afghan cameraman asked, aren’t they children? “It doesn’t matter. These things happen here. Even an old man marries a young girl. It happens.”
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As “we” celebrate “Thanksgiving”, it seems appropriate to take a look at the humanitarian disaster that out Gooferment is causing around the world.
Perhaps, instead of spending blood and treasure on “troops” to fight the “enemy”, we could bring all the boys and girls home and let the locals work out their own problems. “We” could use the money spent on war to buy local products to stimulate a free local market that will bring prosperity for all.
Then, everyone can have “Happy” Thanksgiving?
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