A six-year-old girl has been forced to marry a 55-year-old man after her father allegedly sold her in exchange for a goat in Afghanistan.
Both the man, Seyed Abdolkarim, and the girl’s father have been arrested after a concerned relative raised the alarm about the wedding.
According to the father, who also allegedly received rice, tea, sugar and cooking oil for his daughter, he and his family were desperate for food and by selling his daughter he had one less mouth to feed.
He also insisted that the new husband of the girl, named only as Gharibgol, had sworn not to have sex with her until she turned 18.
After the wedding, Abdolkarim reportedly took the girl to a relative’s house in Firozkoh, in Ghor province, pretending she was his daughter.
But the concerned relative raised the alarm, insisting Abdolkarim was ‘undressing her at night’.
Footage released by news site The Observers shows the father’s arrest, with local women hitting and admonishing him.
According to The Observers, the relative was told be Abdolkarim: ‘No [she’s not my daughter], she’s my wife, her father gave her to me.’
The relative told a friend, who then called the local women’s rights bureau in Ghor province.
The bureau has said it will pursue a divorce and ensure the father is stripped of his parental rights.
The girl is reportedly now living with her mother.
Women in Afghanistan are allowed to marry from the age of 16, and men from 18.
It comes just days after a 60-year-old Afghan cleric was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a six-year-old girl and marrying her, although he insisted she was a ‘religious offering’ from her parents.
A UN survey revealed that 46.4 per cent of Afghan marriages take place before the women turn 18, five years ago.