Not long ago I wrote about how old Saudi men are buying the young daughters of Syrian refugees as temporary brides - a form of prostitution forced on the Syrians by their civil war. This behavior is not limited to just Syria, though. There's a new report of Muslim men traveling to India to buy young girls for temporary marriages, too.
The latest information has been made public thanks to Nausheen Tobassum, a 17-year-old girl who was sold to her parens to a Sudanese man for $1,800. They promised that Nausheen would have sex with the man in exchange for the money, but she fled to the police. Her aunt, the Muslim "qazi" or judge (acting more like a pimp, here), and the man have all been arrested; her parents are in hiding and being sought.
The victim, Nausheen Tobassum, revealed the scale of the problem when she escaped from her home last month after her parents pressurised her to consummate a forced marriage to a middle aged Sudanese man who had paid around £1,200 for her to be his 'wife' for four weeks.
She told police she had been taken by her aunt to a hotel where she and three other teenage girls were introduced to a Sudanese oil company executive. The 'groom', Usama Ibrahim Mohammed, 44 and married with two children in Khartoum, later arrived at her home where a Qazi performed a wedding ceremony.
According to Inspector Vijay Kumar he had paid 100,000 Rupees (around £1,200) to the girl's aunt Mumtaz Begum, who in turn paid 70,000 Rupees to her parents, 5,000 Rupees to the Qazi, 5,000 Rupees to an Urdu translator and kept 20,000 Rupees herself. The wedding certificate came with a 'Talaknama' which fixed the terms of the divorce at the end of the groom's holiday.
"The next day he came to the house of the victim girl and asked her to participate in sex but she refused. She is a young girl and the groom is older than her father," Inspector Kumar told The Telegraph.
Her parents reassured him they would persuade their daughter and told her she would be punished if she did not. Instead she ran out of their tiny one room home in Hyderabad's Moghulpuri neighbourhood and was rescued by a police patrol. The police arrested the groom, the victim's aunt and the Qazi, and issued a warrant for her parents' arrest - Nausheen is a minor under Indian law and cannot marry until she reaches 18. Her parents are now in hiding but will be charged with arranging a child marriage, 'outraging the modesty' of a woman, and criminal conspiracy. ....
"I didn't know what was happening and I agreed in ignorance. They forced me. They changed my date of birth certificate and made a fake one, where I was shown as 24 years old. They exploit girls and that's why I went to police. I had to show courage to go to police against my parents. I don't want to go back to my home, I am scared," [Nausheen Tobassum] said.
Source: The Telegraph
Shiraz Amina Khan of Hyderabad's Women and Child Welfare Society has told reporters that around 15 of these prostitution marriages with children are created every month by visiting Muslim tourists and businessmen. The number keeps rising, too, because more and more Muslim men are hearing about how they can buy a child for a couple of weeks of sex with no strings attached - and there is so much poverty in Hyderabad that there are plenty of families willing to sell their daughters in order to eat.
Prostitution is forbidden in Islam, but temporary marriages are not. In principle, a short-term marriage has advantages. The creation of marriage contracts with specified termination dates has been proposed in the West more than once. I doubt, though, that whatever advantages such a system might have would actually be achievable unless both people involved have relatively equal power.
If one party enters the contract with vastly reduced power, then the temporary nature of it will probably make things worse for them - after all, the person starting with more power knows that they will get out of the contract soon with no penalties, unlike a permanent contract like marriage usually is. So while it's clear that these Muslim men are abusing the idea of a temporary marriage in all kinds of ways, the fact that the girls are coming to the contract with almost no power means that abuse is unavoidable.