Syrians fleeing the conflict to places like Jordan are finding themselves destitute and out of sheer desperation are forced to extreme measures. The Toronto Star has the details …
Nezar too was a homemaker in Homs who arrived in Jordan last year. Her husband was a taxi driver but he can no longer work because he has a heart condition. Her son is badly injured.
“He was a fighter with the resistance army and they were removing a roadblock the regime set up on the street when he was hit by a missile,” she explains. “Four others died. He has had three surgeries and needs another one.”
Her daughter Aya is their best hope.
“My daughter is willing to sacrifice herself for her family,” Nezar says. “If the war had not happened I would not marry my daughter to a Saudi. But the Syrians here are poor and have no money.”
Nezar’s daughter is 17. The Saudi groom is 70.
The family are desperate, and 17 year old Aya is willing to sacrifice herself into a life of slavery as a bride to a 70 year old in exchange for cash for the family.
Some are sold in the belief that they are protecting their daughters by giving them a new life, others are simply desperate for the cash and are willing to sell their daughters to anybody simply to pay the rent, but with so many flooding over the border the going rate can be as little at $100.
The legal age for marriage in Jordan is 18, but girls as young as 12 are being sold off to Saudi’s in the 50s, 60s and even 70s. Any pretence of this being a marriage is a complete sham, it is a human sex cattle market that has been given the protection and blessing of a belief system on the sole basis the Mohammed married a 6 year old at the age of 50 (yes, a rather embarrassing fact is the the founder of Islam, their most revered and holy prophet, was a paedophile). Since he did it, and is the perfect man beyond criticism, then it is OK to follow his example … but it is not.
“The Saudis usually ask for 12-year-olds.”
As she sees it, life has become about exploiting or being exploited.
“I have to feed my children,” she says.
“What does freedom mean?” she asks. “We were living with pride and in our own country. I asked my husband this question. He said that they are Alawites and we fight them. But the Saudis are Sunni like us and they harass Syrian girls. Is this religion? Is this freedom?”
Her husband owned a car wash in Homs. Last year, he was hit by a stray bullet and after Um Majed nursed him back to health he joined a militia fighting with the Free Syrian Army.
“I now wish the bullet pierced his heart,” she says bitterly. “He abandoned me to fight and left me with the burden of supporting the family.”
Just how crazy does your belief system have to be to buy into this idea, how desperate and how impoverished do you have to be to consider selling your 12 year old daughter to a 70 year old stranger?