Professional criminals convince parents that their daughters are going to a better life in Turkey. The parents are given 2000-5000 Turkish liras ($700-$1700) as a “bride price” — an enormous sum for a poor Syrian family.
“Girls between the ages of twelve and sixteen are referred to as pistachios, those between seventeen and twenty are called cherries, twenty to twenty-two are apples, and anyone older is a watermelon.” — From a report on Turkey, by End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT).
Many Muslims have difficulty with, or even an aversion to, assimilating into the Western culture. Many seem to have the aim of importing to Europe the culture of intimidation, rape and abuse from which they fled.
Although the desperate victims are their Muslim sisters and brothers, wealthy Arab states do not take in refugees. The people in this area know too well that asylum seekers would bring with them problems, both social and economic. For many Muslim men such as wealthy, aging Saudis, it is easier to buy Syrian children from Turkey, Syria or Jordan as cheap sex slaves.
On International Women’s Day, March 8, Turkish news outlets covered the tragic life and early death of a Syrian child bride.
Last August, in Aleppo, Mafe Zafur, 15, married her cousin Ibrahim Zafur in an Islamic marriage. The couple moved to Turkey, but the marriage ended after six months, when her husband abruptly threw out of their home. With nowhere to sleep, Mafe found shelter with her brother, 19, and another cousin, 14, in an abandoned truck.
On 8 March, Mafe killed herself, reportedly with a shotgun. Her only possession, found in her pocket, was her handwritten marriage certificate.
Mafe Zafur is only one of many young Syrians who have been victims of child marriage. Human rights groups report even greater abuse that gangs are perpetrating against the approximately three million Syrians who have fled to Turkey.