Afghanistan: resorting to forced marriages to survive poverty

Afghanistan: resorting to forced marriages to survive poverty

Published on: 08/14/2022 – 21:23 Modified on: 08/15/2022 – 10:18

Since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan a year ago, the economy has collapsed and the poverty rate has risen from 72 to 97 percent. To survive, some families have no choice but to resort to forced marriages.

In this slum on the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan capital, visited by a France 24 team, almost 800 families live in abject poverty. With the economic collapse, many of them are forced to make painful decisions to survive, like Fatima, who recently sold one of her three daughters.

At the age of 3, her daughter’s fate is already sealed: she will move into the house of her future father-in-law at the age of 10 to marry one of his sons. By selling their daughter, their parents received 150,000 Afghanis (the equivalent of 1,600 euros).

In a neighboring house, another family is preparing to sell one of the girls by forcibly marrying her off to a wealthy family. The mother can no longer look after her disabled youngest daughter and decides to sell her only 7-year-old sister.

Forced marriages have always existed in Afghanistan. According to a UNICEF report released in 2018, almost 40% of Afghan women were married before they were of legal age. However, this trend has intensified since the Taliban took power a year ago and the country’s economy collapsed.