First News
Volume:7, Number:26
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Around The World 5
THIS WEEK

How the Prettiest Girls Are Enslaved for Debt Payment

In southern Pakistan, small loans balloon into impossible debts, bills multiply and payments are never deducted. And, women and girls are used as collateral for these loans. Sometimes parents, burdened by an unforgiving debt, even offer their daughters as payment. The lenders choose the prettiest, the young and pliable. Sometimes they take them as second wives to look after their homes. Sometimes they use them as prostitutes to earn money. More than 2 million Pakistanis live as " modern slaves," according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, which ranks Pakistan in the top three offending countries that still enslaves people, some as farm workers, others at brick kilns or as household staff. Sometimes the workers are beaten or chained to keep them from fleeing. An estimated 1,000 young Christian and Hindu girls, most of them underage and impoverished, are taken from their homes each year, converted to Islam and married, according to the South Asia Partnership organization.

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