Afghan families sell daughters into marriage as economy collapses

 Afghan families sell daughters into marriage as economy collapses

SHAIDAI, Afghanistan — Bashful, with long locks of rust-colored hair dyed with henna, Benazir fidgets with a handful of gravel when the topic of her marriage comes up.

She looks down at the ground and buries her head in her knees when asked if she knows she’s been promised to another family to marry one of their sons.

Her father says he will receive the equivalent of $2,000 for Benazir, but he hasn’t explained the details to her or what’s expected of her. She’s too young to understand, he says.

Benazir is 8 years old.

It is traditional for families here to pay a dowry to a bride’s family for a marriage, but it is extreme to arrange a marriage for a child so young. And the economic collapse following the Taliban’s takeover in August has forced already poor families to make desperate choices. 

Eight year old Benazir, second right, walks with her father in Herat, Afghanistan. NBC

The days are filled with hardships for children…

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