Starving, sick flood victims selling daughters to get by

Activist claims a racket purchasing young girls from underprivileged families

The record heavy downpours and the subsequent ravaging floods in Sindh have left behind them a trail of destruction and people displaced and ravaged.

MinuteMirror on Thursday learnt that heads of the poor families who are yet to be provided with relief items in a number of the areas of Sindh have starting selling their young and underage girls to feed their families. “People who have lost everything have been left with no option but to sell their young and underage girls to feed their starving families and to get their ailing near and dear ones treated at private hospitals,” added a right activist from Mirpurkhas, who wished not to be named.

The activist went on to claim that some unscrupulous elements, part of a racket, have become active to purchase the young girls from underprivileged families to run their detestable business in the cities. The same activist claimed to have first-hand information of such incidents and showed her willingness to share it if some officials moved in action to curb this horrible crime.

Advocate Kashif Bajeer, an eminent children and women rights activist, who is also member of Sindh Human Rights Vigilant Committee, government of Sindh, fully endorsed the views expressed by above rights activist and revealed that the cases of the women and girls harassment were on the rise specially in so-called relief camps throughout the province. He deplored that in the wake of the devastating calamity, there had been no effective role of both Women Development Department government of Sindh and Child Protection Department when incidents of eve-teasing and harassment were on the rise in certain areas. “It is a bitter fact that underage girls are being sold and forced into early marriages by their helpless parents and some cases girls are reportedly being sold out for the prostitution and beggary,” he said.

Advocate Bajeer claimed that it was an admitted fact that such massive calamities and catastrophes often led to flourish such social crimes and human tragedies but left dangerous impacts on the fabric of the agrarian society. He requested the rights activists in different areas to play an effective role and to raise their voice against such heinous crimes being committed both by displaced and ravaged people and exploitative forces.

He went on to reveal horrific accounts of the haplessness of the affected people especially from underprivileged classes and criminal elements, who according to him, were adding insult to the injuries to current crises. Advocate Bajeer also showed his anger and indignation over reported cases of gang-rape in Sanghar district and other similar gruesome incidents in Dadu, Kandhokot and other districts of the province. He claimed that many such crimes were not being reported even by media in the worst times of calamity.

Khalil Ahmed Bhurgari, another activist pointed out that it was very shameful that even those carrying out “relief activities” were forcing the displaced and wretched people  to allow them to take pictures of their young girls, who according to him, were also in tatters and living on the roadsides and had been exposed to such evil eyes of “beasts”. The people living on the roadsides near ravaged Jhuddo town on Thursday, talking to this reporter, and besides complaining against the alleged failure of government functionaries, also alleged that they were feeling unsafe and were trying to protect the chastity of their female family members from the evil eyes around them with no security being provided to all such several thousand families living under subhuman conditions.