Um Majed’s name appeared on the media a few months ago; a woman active in Jordan’s refugee camps who calls herself a marriage broker but actually sells Syrian girls to rich men at the highest price they offer.
For many families living in Jordan refugee camps, selling their daughters is the only way to survive.
A German reporter has recently gone to Um Majed, where the girl-selling business is going un non-stop, as the war in Syria continues with no hope for the refugees in the sight to be able to go back to their homes.
The reporter says she saw three Syrian girls which were trained at the time by Um Majed how to behave when they are going to be picked.
The girls are waiting to see their Saudi husbands for the first time.
Um Majed calls on them, “ I have a Saudi 70-year old who wants to marry a girl no elder than 13, which one of you wants to get to know him?”.
“I,” one of the girls calls.
Saudis are the most common buyers, paying high amounts of petrodollars for poor girls.
Leila is a 14-year old shy girl who has run away from Syria along with her mother and five other sisters and now her mother has forced her to go through with this marriage.
She says, “I’m not afraid of him, I’m just worried because it is my first time”.
16-year old Gazal is another girl who has experienced a two-month long marriage with a Saudi man. She was beaten up and harshly raped for the whole two months.
“I hate myself, I’m tired, and I don’t want any man in my life. I don’t want any other girl experience what I suffered,” she tells the reporter.
The reporter says the demand for buying Syrian young girls is very high and life condition is getting worse for the refugees, which both have caused this painful problem go on.
The surplus of desperate Syrian refugees means marriage has become a buyer’s market with some grooms offering as little as $100 cash for a bride.
The legal age of marriage in Jordan is 18 but some religious clerics will marry underage girls for a small fee.
This puts the girls at even greater risk for exploitation because some of Um Majed’s clients want a temporary union lasting a few weeks or months after which the girl is returned to her parents.