See also:
» 24.03.2011 - Still double standards in Egypt justice
» 09.03.2011 - Leaks: "Mubarak behind 2005 terror attack"
» 23.02.2011 - Exodus from Libya; foreigners targeted
» 16.02.2011 - King Tut statue among stolen pieces, UN confirms
» 22.04.2010 - Egypt's human trafficking fight crippled, expert
» 10.07.2008 - 15 die on drifting migrant boat to Spain
» 09.06.2008 - Egypt lawmakers ban FGM
» 16.02.2005 - Egypt houses up to 1 million stateless children











buy from China
Egypt
Society | Human rights | Gender - Women

Egyptian minors sold for prostitution under guise of marriage

afrol News / IRIN, 16 November - "Hanadi" was a teenager when she was sold into a short-term marriage by her father. "When I was 14, my father told me I was to be married to a man from Saudi Arabia," said Hanadi, who did not want to use her real name.

"Later on, I discovered that my father and the man had agreed I would stay with him for a month, until he returned home [to Saudi Arabia] at the end of the summer. There was never any intention for us to remain together any longer than his holiday in Egypt."

Hanadi is now 20 years old. She lives in a shelter run by Cairo-based non-governmental organisation the Hope Village Society, which cares for street children.

"Hanadi did not know at the time, but when her father agreed for her to spend a month with the Saudi tourist, he was paid a large sum of money in return in the form of a dowry, which she never had a share in," said Yasser Sobhi al-Okeili, who helps run the centre Hanadi lives in.

"Nor was the marriage officially registered, though she did not know it at the time. Eventually, after a failed marriage of her own choice, she found herself living in the streets. Many girls who have suffered a similar fate end up as street girls," Ms al-Okeili said.

Although there is no specific law that bans the sale of girls and women into such temporary marriages, which often amount to prostitution, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Egypt is a signatory, forbids the sale of children and bans marriage under the age of 16, said Mohamed Tag el-Din Labib, Hope Village Society training and research director.

In addition, Egyptian law bans both prostitution and the marriage of girls under 16. "Minors in prostitution are sent to a sort of corrective centre, where conditions are often as bad if not worse than they are in adult prisons," said Nihad Abul Qumsan, director of the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights. "The man involved is not usually prosecuted, but rather acts as a witness in a trial."

However, rights workers say that because minors often go through at least some of the steps that would make a marriage seem legitimate make it difficult for any of the involved parties to be held accountable or be prosecuted. In addition, parents are almost always either in charge of a transaction of this kind, or at the very least are involved and have given their consent.

Superficially legal
When young girls are set up to be sold for sex, the matter is very often rendered superficially legal as the couple sign a civil marriage contract and are divorced upon the departure of the male party, or no marriage contract is signed at all, as was the case for Hanadi.

According to Ms Qumsan, rules can be circumvented in a number of ways, including falsifying birth certificates or not registering the marriage at all. Because of this, few statistics or studies on the matter exist.

The government's General Department for Women's Affairs does not directly target this practice, according to a ministry official in the women's department speaking on condition of anonymity. Similarly, rights advocates in several civil society organisations contacted by the UN media 'IRIN' said they do not deal with the phenomenon outside the framework of violence against women.

Local activists agree that the main reason for early temporary marriages, as well as other forms of child exploitation such as child labour, is extreme poverty.

"Money is always the main incentive," said Malaka al-Kurdi, director of a campaign combating violence against women at Cairo-based NGO Alliance for Arab Women. An estimated quarter of Egypt’s approximately 80 million inhabitants live just on or below US$ 2 per day, the United Nations-defined poverty line.

Ms al-Kurdi added that the experience of going through a temporary marriage whose sole purpose was the gratification of the male partner was enough to affect a girl for life, particularly in a conservative society such as Egypt. "The phenomenon is simply inhuman, in that a girl who undergoes such an experience is bound to lose out on her childhood," she added.

Hanadi believed it unlikely, despite her young age, that she would ever become fully reintegrated into society as a respected citizen. "After what I went through, no one respects me. The man I married after the Saudi left used to beat me and use me as a sex worker, inviting friends and acquaintances to the house and forcing me to sleep with them," said Hanadi.

"It was horrible. He kept all the money he made from me, of course, and for me it was a living nightmare," she added.


- Create an e-mail alert for Egypt news
- Create an e-mail alert for Society news
- Create an e-mail alert for Human rights news
- Create an e-mail alert for Gender - Women news


 
    Printable version


On the Afrol News front page now

Rwanda
Rwanda succeeds including citizens in formal financial sector

afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
South Sudan | Sudan
Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"

afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
Guinea
Panic in West Africa after Ebola outbreak in Guinea

afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia tightens its already strict anti-gay laws

afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia plans Africa's biggest dam

afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.



front page | news | countries | archive | currencies | news alerts login | about afrol News | contact | advertise | español 

©  afrol News. Reproducing or buying afrol News' articles.

   You can contact us at mail@afrol.com