A human rights organization is shedding light on what marriage brokers are doing to Pakistani Christian families and is working to alleviate poverty so that families do not find themselves in such situations.
Impoverished and persecuted Christian families with young daughters are entering into contracts with supposedly wealthy men in China who will give the girls a good life.
"But neither ends up being true," says Wendy Wright, president of Christian Freedom International. "The men are not wealthy. Women do not have a wonderful life; they end up being slaves. And so it's a really horrible situation for Pakistani young women."
Some of the money goes to the families, but the rest is shared between a broker and sometimes evangelist preachers who have bought into the lies. One Pakistani investigator says the Chinese and Pakistani brokers make between 4 million and 10 million rupees ($25,000 and $65,000) from the groom, but only about 200,000 rupees ($1,500) are given to the family.
"When this came to light, and there was an AP story that ran about it in May of this year, there was pressure that was put on the Pakistani authorities," Wright notes. "But I think that what often times happens is money speaks louder than an impoverished community's needs, and so it's very likely that this continues 'til today."
Investigators reportedly had a list, exclusively viewed by the Associated Press, of 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who since 2018 had been allegedly trafficked to China and forced to marry Chinese men. Once there, many victims were isolated and physically and sexually abused. Others were forced into prostitution. But the AP report said Pakistani authorities convinced police to lighten up their investigation because it could hamper relations with China.
Meanwhile, Christian Freedom International continues to work with Christian families in various ways to ease their poverty and provide them with a way out of their financial burdens.