“If you were starving and you knew the sale of one of your children would prevent the rest of your children from dying, would you do it?”
Asuntha Charles, National Director of World Vision Afghanistan, poses the grim question.
She explains what’s happening…
The situation in Afghanistan is so bad that my dedicated national emergency response staff – while running food aid programmes deep into remote areas – have now set up an in-office staff fund to support desperate families to stop them from selling their own daughters. They know those girls, often incredibly young, will end up married to older men or sold into servitude and vulnerability. Although these practices took place before the Taliban came to power it has now worsened due to the hunger crisis. This is happening because the food assistance programmes like those we run, which meet the needs of many thousands, are being outpaced by the growing numbers of people facing starvation. Many of the previous activities run to protect vulnerable children have also not been able to restart following the change in national leadership.
Afghanistan is now facing its worst hunger crisis in living memory.