THE DAILY BEAST:
Monica, 16, is one of two sisters sold as wives to men who found their photographs on their father’s Facebook page and contacted him. She and her 14-year-old younger sister never wanted to get married until they completed their secondary education in Ogbakoko, a small village in Obanliku Local Government Area in Nigeria’s south-central Cross River state. But the teenage sisters fell victims to a culture which subjects little girls, some as young as 10, to de facto slavery through a tradition called “money marriage.”
The sisters belong to the Becheve community, a large tribe of 17 villages in Obanliku where there is a long tradition in which young girls—often referred to as “money women” or “money wives”—are sold in exchange for food or livestock or cash, or to settle debts.
Like hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of girls from the Becheve clan who are victims of money marriages, Monica and her sister were sold without their consent. Their father wanted to clear the debt he owed to a distant relative. The two sisters got married a month apart to men whom they did not know at all and who were old enough to be their grandfathers.
Their respective husbands got in touch with their father after seeing the Facebook page where he posted photos of his six daughters to draw the attention of his tribesmen. The men of the clan have found the new technology helps to extend and expand their old, exploitative traditions.