Muneera Begum, now aged 19, lives in Hyderabad, India. She says she was just 12 years old when her parents sold her into a forced marriage with a man from Oman. He was aged 70.
She calls the so-called wedding night “torture.”
According to Muneera who was recounting her ordeal in the hands of her forced husband, she stated “That night he took me with him. He forced himself on me. I was crying. [He said] I’ve bought you, I can do whatever I want. I’ve given your parents money, I can use you for as long as I like. Keep your mouth shut.”
She said also that for two months, the man kept her locked in a room, using her repeatedly for sex.
Police say there are hundreds of cases like Begum’s in Hyderabad’s Old City. Young girls from poor neighborhoods, sold by their parents without their consent, to elderly tourists who come here looking for sex.
Agents are located in several countries in the Middle East and Africa. They know brokers in Hyderabad (the city with the largest Muslim population by percentage in India) who approach poor families and convince them to sell their underage daughters because they need the money.
After a few weeks or months of using the girl for sex, the client leaves her, never to come back. Some of the girls are gang raped. Many are given drugs by their buyers, making them helpless, unable to stop what is happening.