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Nigerian Child Brides As Young As 10 Years Old Sold To Old Men Via Facebook

Facebook Nigerian Girl Trafficking Getty Images

Matt M. Miller Contributor

Child brides from Nigeria are being advertised and sold on Facebook, according to a report published Thursday by The Daily Beast.

Girls as young as 10 years old, known culturally as “money women” or “money wives,” are sold to much older men in exchange for money or traded goods. While the tradition of child brides far predates the era of social media, some argue that Facebook has made the marketing of these young women very easy and widespread.

The Daily Beast examined this practice and its prevalence in the Becheve community of Nigeria, where the number of brides a man has reflects his wealth and status.

“The practice is meant to boost the status of the men in Becheve community,” Magnus Ejikang, a chief in Ogbakoko, told The Daily Beast. “The more brides you have, the more respect you gain in the community.”

TOPSHOT - Released Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped from their school in Dapchi, in the northeastern state of Yobe, wait to meet the Nigerian president at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on March 23, 2018. The Nigerian president promised on March 23, 2018 to free the remaining Christian schoolgirl still held by the Islamist militants Boko Haram, as he prepared to meet the other released Dapchi students. A total of 104 of the 110 students seized from the school in Dapchi on February 19 were released on March 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIP OJISUA / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by PHILIP OJISUA has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [school girls ] instead of [Christian school girls ]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Released Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped from their school in Dapchi, in the northeastern state of Yobe, wait to meet the Nigerian president at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on March 23, 2018. The Nigerian president promised on March 23, 2018 to free the remaining school girls still held by the Islamist militants Boko Haram, as he prepared to meet the other released Dapchi students. A total of 104 of the 110 students seized from the school in Dapchi on February 19 were released on March 21, 2018. [AFP PHOTO/PHILIP OJISUA/Getty Images]

The article emphasizes the fact that this practice, and Facebook’s role in it, is not limited to just Nigeria, but spans across Africa, with one recent case involving a young girl from South Sudan. The girl’s father allegedly discussed the sale of his daughter with five separate bidders, some of which were reportedly senior officials in the South Sudanese government.

The girl was reportedly sold by her father to one of the Facebook bidders for 530 cows, three Land Cruiser V8 cars and $10,000. Facebook did take action to remove the post advertising the girl, but by that time, the girl had already been sold and made the 10th wife of Kok Alat, a wealthy South Sudanese businessman. (RELATED: The Reality Of Sex Trafficking At The US-Mexico Border)

A representative from Facebook reportedly told the Daily Mail in a statement that, “any form of human trafficking — whether posts, pages, ads or groups — is not allowed on Facebook and we remove this content whenever we identify it.”

“We’re always improving the methods we use to identify content that breaks our policies, including doubling our safety and security team to more than 30,000 and investing in technology,” the representative continued.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 11: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the second day of testimony before Congress by Zuckerberg, 33, after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 11: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the second day of testimony before Congress by Zuckerberg, 33, after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Queen Eteng, a researcher at Nigerian women’s rights group “Our Women Network,” says that the fathers of trafficked girls find out how to use Facebook through their sons who are more savvy on social media than they are. (RELATED: Texas Mother In Custody For Selling Young Children)

“The majority of Becheve men knew nothing about Facebook until their sons and other young relatives began to show them photos of young Becheve girls on the platform,” Eteng said.

“Most fathers don’t run the Facebook pages opened in their names,” she continued. “Rather it is younger family members who create the pages and post the photos.”