The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates than there are 749,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Afghanistan. Women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country and those who pay intermediaries to assist in finding employment, either in Afghanistan or primarily in Iran, Pakistan, India, Europe or North America are forced in to prostitution. Boys are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking for bacha bazi— a cultural practice in which men exploit boys for social and sexual entertainment, and those travelling unaccompanied are often trafficked from Afghanistan to Greece for sexual exploitation.
Elsa was around 14 when she ran away from home to escape forced marriage. However, the person who she thought was helping her raped her, sold her to a broker and Elsa was then forced in to prostitution.
My friends were not getting married and it was only me, so I didn’t like that. So, when I saw my parents preparing the feast, I knew they were definitely going to give me to a husband, so I escaped. I was about 14. The person who gave me a ride, he raped me while we were on the way here. So, I was devastated. I regret coming here and I wish I had stayed with my family because the person who raped me, didn’t use a condom and he introduced me to a broker, who got me this job as a prostitute.
After 15 days I found out I was pregnant. I started getting sick. I struggled as much as I cold and worked as a prostitute until I was nine months pregnant.
I pray that we will have better opportunities in the future. I pray that I will be free from HIV when I am tested. I also pray that the men who were very rude, who used knives and guns to threaten us, that we will not have these men in our lives. I pray.
Narrative provided by Too Young to Wed