Monday, 6 October 2014

Some Poor Egyptian Girls Have Been Married 60 Times By The Time They Turn 18

The reality of child sex abuse in Egypt.
'... some girls who grow up in Egypt's poor rural communities face an even scarier sort of child marriage: the temporary kind. Sex tourism to Egypt tends to spike in the summer, when wealthy men from Gulf countries flood into Egypt and thousands of underage girls are sold by their parents into temporary "marriages," according to a story by Inter Press Service.

Child sex tourism is difficult to track, but the United Nations estimates that it affects two million children every year, often in countries that are poor but have preexisting tourism infrastructure, such as Thailand, India, Costa Rica and others.

Egypt's illegal child sex tourism trade appears to have put a regional-friendly spin on the practice by portraying the buying and selling of children as a form of marriage, thus giving them a thin veneer of religious acceptability by circumventing Islamic rules against pre-marital sex. (Despite a 2008 law banning child marriages, enforcement is thought to be low and an Egyptian official told the Inter Press Service that's it's nearly ceased since the chaos of the 2011 revolution.) Child marriages are, after all, somewhat common in Arab countries, although not nearly as common as in neighboring regions. And such child marriages often involve "dowries" that human trafficking activists say are akin to a purchase price.

By making the unions temporary, Egyptian child sex tourism manages to capture much of the worst of child marriage and child prostitution. Girls still bear the long-term risks of child marriages – some are expected to double as domestic workers – as well as the routines of children sold for sex in other countries. "Some girls have been married 60 times by the time they turn 18," an Egyptian government official who works on the issue told Inter Press Service. "Most 'marriages' last for just a couple of days or weeks."'

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