I just read the saddest, true story about an individual that I’ve seen in a long, long time; a Afghani girl was forced into wedlock at the age of 13 after being purchased by her in-laws for $5,000. She refused to have sex with her husband. As a consequence of her actions, her in-laws tried to force into prostitution, which she refused, and then put her in a basement with hay and shit for months on end.
The police eventually discovered Sahur Gul and placed her in a woman’s shelter in Kabul and three of her in-laws have been given 10-year prison sentences because of the torture and abuse that they instilled upon the girl.
According to the New York Times, those around the family had seen enough to know that something bad was happening, but didn’t have enough leverage or ability to stop the systematic abuse of the innocent victim and didn’t know what the exact nature of the crime was.
Unfortuantely, Sahur Gul’s story is not uncommon in Afghanistan: many believe that many more women will suffer without the means necessary to stop the violence and abuse to women. This belief stems in part from the fact that foreign aid to Afghanistan is dwindling at a rapid rate and that United States forces and their allies are withdrawing from the nation of Afghanistan.
There are less women’s shelters to house the women and girls affected by this violence, and there is a deep-seated fear that the violence against women will continue in the nation. The New York Times also quotes a women’s rights leader who mentions that there are several instances within Afghanistan where women have been murdered and no one knows about it.
Human slavery is not only common to Afghanistan; it happens frequently in Southeast Asia where poor families sell their daughters into prostitution or labor.
According to the United Nations, as many as 2.4 million people are the victims of human trafficking at any given point in time in the world. Two-thirds of the victims are women. Again, the saddest part about human trafficking is that so few of the victims are rescued; roughly as many as one in one thousand victims are rescued from human trafficking at any point in time.