If today’s NYT is to believed, a new casualty of illegal drugs is children. Not the babies born with an addiction; nor, the children haphazardly raised by a drug using parent. The latest casualty is a group of girl children used by adults who owe money to drug warlords in Afghanistan.
It seems that after the fall of the Taliban in that country, the drug trade resumed with renewed vigor. Little by little, smaller producers or distributors who borrowed but could not pay back their debts, began using their female children to pay back the lenders. This is not to be confused with a custom among many of the Afghan tribes of “paying” for a bride. In this new debt paying system, the girl children have no social standing. They may be used as servants or slaves of any kind.
Caught in this insidious social practice, those outside of the drug trafficking have begun using this method of payment. The story told in this morning’s paper describes the distress of a father who could not repay with cash a $2500.00 loan that he borrowed from an acquaintance . His method of payment was to offer his six-year-old daughter as a bride to the seventeen year old son of the lender. To add insult to injury, the would-be mother-in-law insists that the child soon to be part of her family no longer attend school as continued schooling “…would be an insult to her family”.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if just one European or American woman who uses illegal drugs would reach into her heart and her pocketbook and pay that debt?