Even 20-day-old daughters are being 'sold in marriage' in Afghanistan, says UNICEF official

Even 20-day-old daughters are being 'sold in marriage' in Afghanistan, says UNICEF official

The ongoing food crisis, Covid pandemic, loss of work due to change in government and the onset of winters has worsened the situation.

Disturbing reports of families offering daughters as young as 20 days old for future marriage in return for a dowry have come up from war-torn Afghanistan, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Saturday.

UNICEF's partners had also registered 183 child marriages and 10 cases of selling of children between 2018 and 2019 in Herat and Baghdis provinces alone, even before the latest upheaval, said Fore in a statement. These children were aged from six months to 17 years of age.

"I am deeply concerned by reports that child marriage in Afghanistan is on the rise. We have received credible reports of families offering daughters as young as 20 days old up for future marriage in return for a dowry," she said.

The ongoing food crisis, Covid pandemic, loss of work due to change in government and the onset of winters has worsened the situation.

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In 2020, almost half population of the country lacked basic necessities, such as nutrition or clean water, she said.

"The extremely dire economic situation in Afghanistan is pushing more families deeper into poverty and forcing them to make desperate choices, such as putting children to work and marrying girls off at a young age," she added.

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