Desperate Father Sold Young Daughter to 'Old Man' for $2,200 to Buy Food for Family

A desperate father in Afghanistan was forced to sell his 9-year-old daughter to buy food for his family. Parwana Malik was sold for approximately $2,200 to a man who claimed to be 55-years-old.

Malik told CNN that to her, he was "an old man" whom she worried was going to beat her and force her to do labor around the house.

Malik's parents said they had no other choice but to sell their daughter. As their country's economy collapsed amid the Taliban takeover, her family has become unable to afford any necessities including food.

Malik's family has lived in an Afghan displacement camp in the northwestern Badghis province for the past four years. They are surviving on humanitarian aid and small jobs to bring in enough money to provide food for the family.

Malik's 12-year-old sister was already sold to a man months prior to help pay for basic necessities.

In footage captured by CNN of the moment Malik was introduced to the man, she visibly resists and can be seen digging her heels into the ground. Her father told the man to "please take care of her" and begged him not to beat her.

But the man said he wasn't buying Malik as a bride, but rather to be taken care of by his own wife as one of their own children.

"[Parwana] was cheap, and her father was very poor and he needs money," the man told CNN. "She will be working in my home. I won't beat her. I will treat her like a family member. I will be kind."

After the Taliban officially took power over Afghanistan on August 15, Malik's family along with the majority of Afghans felt their situations worsen as the economy crumbled as well as their everyday normalities.

"Day by day, the numbers are increasing of families selling their children," human rights activist Mohammad Naiem Nazem told CNN. "Lack of food, lack of work, the families feel they have to do this."

Malik's father, Abdul Malik, said he tried everything to make money so he wouldn't have to sell his daughter. He told CNN that he traveled to another city in search of work but was unsuccessful. He also said he borrowed money from relatives and his wife even begged for food around the camp.

"We are eight family members," Abdul told CNN. "I have to sell to keep other family members alive."

Malik told CNN she had hopes of becoming a teacher and did not want to give up her education. She said she attempted to change her parents' minds but was unable to. By selling his daughter, Abdul received sheep, land, and cash worth about $2,200.

Father sells daughter to old man
A desperate Afghan father had to sell his his 9-year-old daughter to an "old man" for about $2,200 in order to afford food. He also sold his 12-year-old daughter a few months prior. Aved Tanveer/Getty Images

Although it is illegal in Afghanistan to marry a child under the age of 15, it is still a common practice, especially in rural areas. With the nationwide hunger and poverty within the country, many parents are finding themselves in similar situations to Abdul.

With a wife, three more daughters, and a son at home, Abdul realized the grim reality that the $2,200 he received for his daughter will only provide for his family for a short time.

"As I can see, we don't have a future—our future is destroyed," he told CNN. "I will have to sell another daughter if my financial situation doesn't improve—probably the 2-year-old."