Rohingya Child Bride



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This article is about a 12 year old girl whose village was burned to the ground and her life after that.

Rashidah was just 12 years old when her life drastically changed. Her village was burned down, and the next three years after that burned her soul just like the outcome of her village. She was sold into slavery and sexually assaulted by Human Trafficking (the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation). Now at the age of 15 Rashidah is already a mother and is also a victim of an ongoing issue that is, as the article states, “plaguing Malaysia’s sizable Rohingya population” which is the sale of young girls into forced marriage.

Image result for Rohingya people map

As I continued to read on I learned that the Rohingya people are on of the most persecuted people on earth. In 2012 anti-Muslim violence began causing an estimated total of 25,o00 people onto a boat to try and escape to Malaysia but many died on the journey. When they arrived in Malaysia the ration of men to women was very high so the demand for young girls grew and grew over time. Then since men overpopulated the area Human Traffickers began targeting young girls in camps in Myanmar trying to bribe them by offering a safe travel to Malaysia for a lower price, deceiving them fro  their true intentions. Once they agreed the traffickers would then change the deal and the girls would then be in debt. After that they would be kept for not paying wages and then assaulted by the traffickers that promised safety to them.

Sharifah Shakirah, a Rohingya woman who works with the victims of forced marriages in Malaysia, said the situation is the symptom of a cruel system. Human traffickers routinely demand large sums of cash for passage to Malaysia, and some men, who are willing to pay for a bride in a place where few eligible Rohingya women exist, are supporting this extortion by paying the traffickers’ fees.

Sharifah works with these men and women and tries to teach them that this practice is wrong ,and should not continue. But the conversation would become difficult to that of men who just arrived and had little to no education.

Today, tens of thousands of stateless Rohingya people remain trapped in limbo in Malaysia—unable to legally work or return home, while facing years-long waits for potential resettlement by UNHCR. And hidden inside the Rohingya population are women like Rashidah, teenagers who have been sold into marriages without their consent by human traffickers. These women, poor, unable to speak English or Bahasa Malay, and afraid of law enforcement, are rendered all but invisible in Malaysia.

Rashida was one of the lucky ones if you could even classify this as lucky… After being abused multiple times by traffickers and other men she became pregnant. When they realized this they sold her to a man in debt bondage. The man brought her to his home and she was forced to clean up after him and his children and live in a small shed behind his house. Once he figured out she was pregnant the man quickly tired to find a doctor to abort the child, but a local “ustad” convinced him to allow her to give birth. When a man by the name of Aziz heard of this he promised to pay off her debts if she would become his wife. She accepted because she was alone and this man was willing to save her from going back into a life of prostitution if she refused.
Rashida says her husband is very caring and that he treats her well. But if she had a chance to do it all over again, she would have never left Myanmar. “If I knew all of these things would happen, I wouldn’t have come here,” Rashidah said. “I think Myanmar was better for me.”
This was Rashidas life, now look at yours and tell me how you can complain about it everyday when you don’t know the half of what she faced. She went through struggles most Americans have nightmares of. This isn’t a fable or a fairy tale. This is a girl real life that began to spiral out of control at the age of 12! Now please try and convince me that you live a harder life than her, I dare you to.
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