The Dark Secret of Thailand’s Child Brides(The Guardian &Freedom United, Sept. 1st, 2018)

Underage Thai girls in Thailand’s southern border provinces are often forced into marrying older Malaysian men. But Thai authorities have largely turned a blind eye to the problem.Earlier this summer the marriage of Ayu, an 11-year-old Thai girl, to 41-year-old Malaysian  Che Abdul amid  sparked outrage in Parliament.  In Malaysia, men can legally marry girls under 18 only if they get Islamic sharia court approval. But Hamid got around this paying an imam 4,500 baht (£105) for officiating before getting his new marriage certificate at the Islamic Council offices. With that, Ayu became his third wife, and the pair crossed back into Malaysia. Hashim Yusoff, the imam who married the two, defended the wedding saiyg that he made Hamid pledge to not have sexual relations with his 11-year-old wife. However, recent medical tests have revealed that Hamid did not keep his promise.The Guardian reports that marriages like these occur because of a legal loophole.  “Facilitators” often came to villages on behalf of men looking for a child wife.“The facilitators come to the houses, they  ask them  saying things like, ‘Do you have any lambs or baby goats you are selling?Everyone knows that it means they are looking for a young virgin to marry. And then an arrangement will be made between the girl’s father and the facilitator. The girl has no say.”