An 11-year-old girl was sold from her home in Spain to be married off to a man who repeatedly raped and beat her. Spanish police have revealed the victim was also forced to pick fruit and vegetables without pay.
Five members of two families, one selling and one buying, have been detained and charged with crimes including trafficking, sexual abuse, rape, abuse and labour exploitation, reports TheLocal.es. A spokesman for the force said: “a minor was sold by her parents for 17,000 euros with the goal of contracting marriage at an engagement party in Romania”.
She travelled from her home to another city in Spain to live with the family of her new husband-to-be, where family members would “constantly insult, threaten and hit her, and force her to have sex”. When the girl pleaded with her mother, the family offered to give her back – but only if they paid back some of the money.
As soon as the family realised they were being monitored by police, they immediately put the abused girl on a bus back to her parents.
The trade in wives, who are often criminally young, accross Europe by Roma Gypsy gang-masters is an emerging issue, with traditional Gypsy law known as the Pachiv meaning the girls are considered ready to marry as soon as they reach puberty. The Associated Press reports this week on the lucrative trade of impoverished Roma girls ‘bought’ by African and Asian men living in countries like Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands for the purpose of so-called ‘green-card’, or ‘sham’ marriages. By virtue of marrying the Roma girls, who are European citizens, the men can fight extradition to their countries of origin on the strength of having the human right to a family life.
Young, pregnant girls are most highly prized because they strengthen the husband’s case to remain in the EU. Once the marriages have been contracted and made official, the girls lose their immediate use and are often used as sex slaves for their ‘husbands’ friends and relatives, or turned over to smuggling drugs.
One such example of the abuse is the story of a young Slovankian Roma girl, who was bought for £15,000 and trafficked to child-rape scandal town Rochdale, before being ‘married’ by a “self proclaimed imam”, in a ceremony that took place in an ordinary residential property. Most girls are considered as being less valuable, with a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police remarking: “the going rate for a girl is between £3-£4,000”.