A middle-aged man from Jordan was barred by Jordanian police from marrying a 14-year-old Syrian refugee girl in trade for cash because the legal age to be wed in Jordan is 15 years old.
The girl’s father died and she moved in with her uncle who is struggling financial difficulty, so he goes out to sell the child to the 50-year-old man.
Police and the government have stopped the marriage and the man is pending investigation, his sentence? He may have to wait until the girl’s next birthday.
According to the Jordanian Ministry of Religion, 35 percent of Jordan-based Syrian brides are minors, aged 15-18. According to estimates, a number of girls under the age of 15 have been married illegally.
The Arab media has reported extensively on trafficking of underage Syrian refugees who fled the civil war in their native country along with their families. In the Zaatri refugee camp, near the Syrian border, “middlemen” set up Syrian minors, who are often desperate for money, with rich men, especially from the Gulf.
A few months ago, the Al Hayat newspaper reported on the marriage of two sisters, Farihan, 16, and Rihan, 14, who were married off by their father to two brothers from the Gulf, aged 55 and 51 respectively, in exchange for $7,000.
Marriage laws in the middle east have been controversial every since they got implemented, ages range from as young as 9-years-old, and it’s unknown how many lives have been ruined.