Rohingya Vision

Rohingya Women Flee Violence Only to Be Sold Into Marriage

Ambiya Khatu, center, with her niece and mother, married a man in Malaysia who paid $1,050 for her release from smugglers. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Rohingya Women Flee Violence Only to Be Sold Into Marriage
August 03
10:37 2015

GELUGOR, Malaysia — The young woman had been penned in a camp in the sweltering jungle of southern Thailand for two months when she was offered a deal.

She fled Myanmar this year hoping to reach safety in Malaysia, after anti-Muslim rioters burned her village. But her family could not afford the $1,260 the smugglers demanded to complete the journey.

A stranger was willing to pay for her freedom, the smugglers said, if she agreed to marry him.

“I was allowed to call my parents, and they said that if I was willing, it would be better for all the family,” said the woman, Shahidah Yunus, 22. “I understood what I must do.”

She joined the hundreds of young Rohingya women from Myanmar sold into marriage to Rohingya men already in Malaysia as the price of escaping violence and poverty in their homeland.

While some Rohingya women agree to such marriages to escape imprisonment or worse at the hands of smugglers, others are tricked or coerced. Some are only teenagers.

Their numbers are difficult to gauge, but officials and activists estimate that in recent years hundreds, if not thousands, of Rohingya women every year have been married off this way, and that their numbers have been increasing.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that a surge of maritime migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar this year brought an increase in “abductions and marriages arranged without the consent of women whose passage was ultimately paid for by prospective husbands.”

Note: Changes have been made, NYT is not responsible for these.

Source: NYT.

Read further on: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/03/world/asia/rohingya-women-flee-violence-only-to-be-sold-into-marriage.html?_r=0

 

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