American beauty queen comes to the rescue …
Sounding more like a tale from the 7th century instead of the 21st, a six-year-old Afghan girl was sold into virtual slavery by her own father as so he could pay off his debts, only to eventually be saved by an American from an arraigned marriage to a grown man, as reported by Anna Coren of CNN via KMSS TV-33 of Shreveport, LA on April 8, 2014.
Finding himself $2,500 in debt to pay off the medical bills for a hospitalized wife and a three-year-old son who eventually froze to death, Taj Mahammad fell back on what Coren referred to as the Central Asian nation’s “inhumane and cruel tradition [that] is still unfortunately common.”
Mahammad resorted to selling his six-year-old daughter Naghma (now seven) to his money-lender to erase the debt.
It turns out the money-lender’s nineteen-year-old son just so happens to be in need of a bride, and in a country where the average annual national income per capita is about $410, the amount owed might as well have been in the millions.
Enter the Yank …
That’s where American wife, mother, human rights advocate, lawyer and 2d runner-up in the 2004 Mrs. Wisconsin pageant, Kimberley Motley came into the picture.
Working in Afghanistan pro bono since 2008, Motley was recently told of little Naghma’s nightmare-come-true by Afghan activists.
As reported by Coren:
Through an assembly of Afghan elders known as Jirga, she managed to get Naghma out of the marriage and back to her family with an anonymous donor paying off the debt.
Since then, Naghma and one of her brothers have been offered placement at Afghanistan’s National Institute of Music in Kabul.