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Have seen nothing but pain, violence and slavery: Nelab

Have seen nothing but pain, violence and slavery: Nelab

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Dec 10, 2017 - 10:51

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The girl, who was deceived into marriage through a mobile phone, was not allowed to take divorce by her deceiving husband and was being raped and beaten up by him every day.

Article 3 of the Human Trafficking and Immigrant Trafficking Law says, “To recruit, transfer, transport, harbor or receive a person for the purpose of exploitation, using the means of deceit is human trafficking”.

Incidents of deception have surged in different parts of the worldinfo-icon, especially in Afghanistaninfo-icon, and most victims are womeninfo-icon. Nelab (Not her real name), 21, from western Faryab, province, is one of the victims of human trafficking.

Safe house

Nelab (not her real name) who fled home due to gender based violence from her father at home, walked into a trap laid by a stranger man. After marriage, the man raped, beat and tortured her to the extent that she was left with no option but to find shelter at a safe house, said Nelab.

Since adulthood, she has seen nothing but pain, violence, slavery and sorrow .Nelab has been living in Kabul in a safe house for the past one year. She has given birth to the baby girl of her deceiving husband, at the facility.

“If there had been no safe house for women like me, I would have to live on the road in the current circumstances,” she said, holding a two-month-old baby on her lap. She started sharing her woeful story.

“We are four sisters and have as many brothers. My father is a prayer leader, imaminfo-icon. We had no contact with our relatives. My father used to beat our mother daily in front of us. Knife cuts are still visible on my mother’s body.

“I also tolerated his violent behavior until I turned 18 three years back. One day a friend of mine suggested to get into a relationship with someone she claimed that he is a friend of her relatives lives in Kabul .My friend gave me the mobile number of the man and I established contact. I didn’t know it was a fraud! The man behaved very well during our distance relationship.  He promised to take care of me but all were lies. I told him of violence happening daily at our home,” recalled Nelab.

Tears rolled down her cheeks as Nelab narrated her lacerating story. She said the man with whom she established connection over the phone told her to come to Kabul and stay with him at his sister’s house.

“I came to Kabul and spent days and nights with the man and after a while I got married with him. I didn’t know that he has two more wives and several children. Finally, he told me about his earlier marriages and children and I was shocked! When I asked him why you did this to me? Why all these false promises and deceit? He laughed and said well this is how I married with my other two wives…from that moment I decided to get divorce from him”

According to Nelab, her father would kill her if she returned home. She had no option but to go to the house of that man with whom she had established telephonic contact.

“At his home, I had to deal with two co-wives and their many children.” She added her husband, after some time, started subjecting her to violent behavior-- both verbal and physical.

“When I looked through the window, he beat me and asked who I was looking at. When I wore proper clothes, he said for whom I have dressed up.”

Her husband was a driver but nobody saw his income. He would often talk to other women over the phone and spent his most of his money in this way.

“This situation was no more acceptable to me. I wanted to stay away from my husband, who beat me, raped me and kept me captive.”

After a lot of difficulties, Nelab said, she managed to go to the house of her husband’s cousin -- a defense lawyer -- and asked him to get her divorce from her husband.

“After divorce, I did not know that I am two months pregnant.” When the baby was born, she told her husband to take his child but he refused. The man denied fathering the child.

Disappointed with her ex-husband’s behavior, Nelab said women living in the safe home were victims of violence, she asked the government to punish men who committed violence against women.

She asked teenage girls to be very careful in their lives and not to be duped by disloyal men.

Essential services to victims

Shima, head of the shelter house where Nelab is staying, told Pajhwok 57 people lived in the facility. The inmates include 37 unaccompanied women and 20 children.

She said the women were introduced to the shelter house by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Ministry of Women Affairs and police head quarters. They are provided with food and clothes, as well as first aid and psychotherapy advice free of cost.

“We don’t talk to these women about their living conditions until they themselves evince an interest. A defense lawyer is appointed for them with the passage of time and their cases are followed by judiciary organs,” Shima (Not her real name) added.

The women kept in the house are also provided with educational services such as learning the Holy Quraninfo-icon, cooking, embroidery and tailoring. They also play sportsinfo-icon three days a week.

She said the women referred to the shelter were generally forced to accept swara, underage marriage or other types of forced marriage. They were also victims of domestic violence, she added.

The government should include subjects of elimination of violence against women in the curriculum to help educate people on how to treat their sisters, mothers, wife and daughters, Shima suggested.

Aqdas Hashemi, a defense lawyer for the shelter inmates, said he had pleaded the cases of a number of women.

“Our consultation has yielded positive results in most of the cases. We talk to these women for one and half an hour daily; they are given a chance to start a normal life. If their cases are not resolved, the women continue to live in the shelter house,” he explained.

Victims should be helped: Salimi

Mohammad Hassan Salimi, an official of High Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, while talking about women’s problems kept in shelter houses, said: “A victim has the right to use all its privileges given to her/him under the law and they should be supported,”

“We identify the level of the victim. The commission introduces the victim to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and Ministry of Women Affairs, which has 29 help centers for women in Afghanistan, “he said.

“We also do the same about children’s cases. But we have no place for male victims. We are trying to provide a proper place for men as well,” he continued.

AIHRC on defending victims’ rights

Mohammad Bilal Seddiqi, AIHRC spokesman, said they conducted public awareness workshops in cooperation with the judiciary and security organs to combat human trafficking and help victims of violence.

He said it was the responsibility of the commission to follow cases of victims, including those living in shelter houses. The commission also arranges advocacy programs with specific committees of civil societyinfo-icon organizations to defend rights of human trafficking victims.

MoI on human trafficking

Col. Mohammad Hamid, manager of the human and goods trafficking section at the Ministry of Interior (MoI), said: “Such cases have three dimensions -- women eloping for adultery, eloping for marriage and women trafficked for sexual use or sale of body parts.

“We address these cases with cooperation from the judiciary. We send women to shelter houses for protection,” he said.

Living together is no game

Shahla Farid, a lecturer at Kabul University and civil society activist, said Islam enjoins upon men to convince their first and second spouses into living together amicably.

“If a woman is unaware of her husband’s second wife, she can go for living separately. As a civil society activist, I advise girls not to bedeceived by men over the telephone, because living together is not a game,” she said.

She suggested second marriage conditions should be toughened by the government to discourage men from polygamy.

Deception an unwanted act in Islam

Mufti Hujatullah, a religious scholar, said that deceiving women was an unwanted and unethical act in Islam.

“If a man lies to the woman he chooses as a second wife, then she can move the court for divorce,” he remarked.

Nelab is not the only woman having faced this situation; many girls are deceived over the telephone by deceptive men, posing as lovers.

nh/mds/mud

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