KABUL (SW) – Violence, gender discrimination and the prevailing practice of underage marriages are among the reasons many young women and girls chose to flee from Afghanistan.

In quest for a safe life and away from such evil practices and discrimination, many young women and girls have resorted to regular and even irregular migration.

Yalda, a 17-year-old girl – who had lost her parents – and used to live with her uncle’s family, said her uncle was a greedy and money-loving man who forced her to marry a 40-year-old man. She said it was very difficult for her to live with a man twice her age, so she decided to emigrate irregularly and achieve the independence of a person she did not have at her uncle’s house.

Her friends introduced her to a group of smugglers for the trip to Iran. Although, there were many people in the group with Yalda on her way to Iran, she faced many difficulties as she traveled alone and unaccompanied. She underwent endless walks and endured unimaginable hunger and thirst.

Yalda said that in the middle of the journey, the smugglers would change by splitting money with each other, and the migrants were often sold from one smuggler to another.

“I was very annoyed, I walked non-stop for days and nights,” she said while sharing her vision of irregular migration. “There were plains and mountains that I saw for the first time, I was very scared. I endured thirst and hunger just because I did not have security in my own country, at home, and the fate of my life was not in my own hands”, she said.

Yalda arrived in Iran with great difficulty, and after a short stay there, she left for Turkey, where she hoped she would be completely safe.

Although, the fate of Yalda brought her to Turkey, she is now struggling with the hardships of life as she is suffering from unemployment and loneliness. She says that she always thought about her individual independence and went through the tortuous path of irregular migration for it to reach Turkey with great suffering, but she has been looking for a job in this country for four years now.

Yalda said she is not able to find a high-paying job because she is illiterate.

“Insecurity and unemployment are not the only reasons for women to emigrate, but violence against women and forced marriages are also driving them out of the country,” said Fariha Jabarkhil, an adviser at the Center for Migration Information on Women’s Migration.

Commenting on this, Sayed Abdul Basit Ansari, an adviser at the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees, told Salam Watandar that the ministry was working to address the issues of Afghan citizens facing such situations in different countries of the region. According to him, Afghan citizens in Turkey, Greece and Indonesia are currently in dire straits.

Based on the figures by the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees, more than 600,000 Afghans are currently living as refugees in the region. Ministry officials said more than 250,000 people have left Afghanistan for European countries and some of them have stayed in Turkey and Greece.

Say no to irregular migration!

ENDS

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