Curious about the connection between arranged marriage and sex trafficking in today’s world I posted this question on my social media networks. “Is arranged marriage a form of sex trafficking?” The responses were varied and quite thought provoking.
The institute of marriage was created thousands of years ago as a contract between families. Daughters were traded and bartered with as chattel as part of the marriage agreement and virgins brought a high price. Girls who had lost their virginity, by whatever means, held no value. In some societies even today, girls are murdered by their families for their loss of virginity.
In ancient times men gifted their daughters to kings and emperors to become wives and concubines, adding to their harems as men collected women like trophies. Gifting their daughters ensured favor in the eyes of the kings and gave young girls an opportunity at a better quality of life, or so it was presumed.
As humanity evolved, marriage became less about ownership and more about business. Sons and daughters were both pawns in their parent’s negotiations to ensure the peaceful existence between kingdoms and the wellbeing of family fortunes and family reputations.
Eventually marriage became about love, which only occurred in the western world in the beginning of the last century. Some argue that love is not a good requisite for marriage and often leads to divorce as love wanes and negative perceptions and judgments take over.
Arranged marriages still exist throughout the world and the reasoning behind it varies from culture to culture. In some cultures the families present all of the benefits of various potential suitors to their children. The decision regarding the marriage arrangement is made by both families as they come to agreement and the children are an active part of the decision making process.
In other cultures arranged marriages are nothing short of sex trafficking. In one particular culture girls are often betrothed at birth and given to men for their pleasure as young as four years old. They are subjected to hiding their bodies in shame for their entire lives, fully controlled by the men who own them, and treated as little more than sex slaves. Other cultures are similar, in that the bartering of girls is common, as men trade their daughters as favors to other men. And there are cultures where men and women take their young daughters to a religious leader for assignment, in the belief that he is spiritually guided. These forms of arranged marriage are not about family kingdoms, reputations, stability or love. This is about sex and control.
This form of sex trafficking is overlooked here in America because it is justified by religion. In America, anything and everything has been justified by religious belief and overlooked because we have become so religiously sensitive. We seem to forget that this is not about adults and their personal relationship choices in their relationship with God. It is about children being manipulated and abused by a system where religious rights supersede human rights.