Parwana Malik is a 9-year-old girl with rosy cheeks, dark eyes, and giggles with her friends while they play jump rope in a dusty clearing. However, Parwana’s laughter is short-lived as she returns home, a small hut with dirt walls, where her fate of being sold to a stranger awaits her as a child bride.
The man aspiring to purchase Parwana is 55, but to her, he’s “an old man” with white eyebrows and a thick white beard. She is worried about being beaten up and being forced to work in his house. Her parents claim to have no choice.
For four years, her family had stayed within an Afghan displacement camp in northwestern Badghis province, running on humanitarian aid and menial work earning a few dollars a day. However, life has become harder after the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan on August 15.
With the drying up of international aid, the nation’s economy collapses and the family can’t afford basic necessities such as food. Earlier, her father also sold her 12-year-old sister a few months back. Hunger has compelled many families to make heartbreaking decisions, particularly as the merciless winter is nearing. With each passing day, the numbers are increasing of families selling their children. Due to the lack of food and lack of work, the families are forced to do this.”
Abdul Malik, the father is ready to sell another daughter if their condition doesn’t improve.