A 14-year-old Mexican girl imprisoned to escape an arranged wedding

Trakinoran Human Rights Center

Trakinoran Human Rights Center

A 14-year-old girl was imprisoned after fleeing last week Escape the wedding What she bought.

The girl, identified only by Anaeri “N” in the local press, was to marry her neighbor. Mexican Guerrero, where the family provided a total of 200,000 pesos (about US $ 9,300) To buy her Marriage hand.

Anaeri’s mother accepted the payment, and the family next door hired a band, slaughtered cows, and prepared a wedding feast. Will be held last Monday.. Anyway, the parents, who will be the groom, spent about 56,000 pesos (US $ 2,600) preparing for the wedding.

But Anaeri, a member of the indigenous Mixtec people, did not have it. Early in the morning of “The Big Day,” she fled her family’s home in the village of Joyareal in southwestern Mexico and evacuated to a home near her 15-year-old friend Alfredo “N.”

An American couple’s trip to Cancun ends with the death of a horrifying hotel room

Abel Valera, director of the Guerrero-based Trakinoran Human Rights Center, is the Daily Beast.

When Anaeri learned that she was the bride, not her sister, she said, “I preferred to run away without notifying anyone, even though my mother had already agreed. [on the price] And the cost paid by the groom’s father, “Vallera said.

“Neither of them was interested in the girl. She just wanted to keep her freedom, her life, and her safety,” he said. Valera has been technically illegal under Mexican law since 2019, Marriage by minor arrangements is still common Between families living in rural areas.

According to Valera, when a girl is purchased, it is “treated as a thing” by the family who paid for it. “She has to work, cook, clean, go to the fields, and if she gets to work as a farm worker, money Will not be paid to her, but to her father-in-law, “Vallera said.

Marina Reina Aguilar, Secretary-General of the Guerrero Association for Violence against Women, breaks social norms by escaping Anaeri and refusing to “become part of the tradition of forcing underage girls in the community.” It took a lot of courage to do it, “he told The Daily Beast.Marry by relatives’ agreement in exchange for money [or] Goods and things such as beer, cows and other animals. “

As the child’s bride went missing, the groom’s family asked Joyaleal’s community police officer to pursue Anaeri. They wiped out a small village, found Anaeri and Alfredo hiding, and marched to jail.

In ” [indigenous] No one in the community monitors the rights of girls, “said Valera, an anthropologist who specializes in local indigenous cultures. “Because of the patriarchal culture, it is the older men who do justice. Women are also imprisoned and women cannot go to the defense of girls.”

The night they spent in prison, the two minors had to repay from police officers Anaeri to submit to the marriage or the $ 2,600 that the groom’s family had already spent on weddings and related festivals. I was told.

NS Local police Is an independent, ancillary form of law enforcement agency aimed at providing security in isolated areas of Mexico where there is little or no federal or state police. Thus, small town and village officers may act unilaterally because they do not respond to higher authority, Aguilar said. She accused local police of abusing their power by “normalizing practices that violate the human rights of girls and women,” despite the law on books prohibiting the marriage of minors.

“When the local police decided to detain Anaeri, [are] By ignoring the legal framework they must respect and enforce … by not obeying, this turns them into law-breaking criminals, “Aguilar said.

By Tuesday morning, members of Valera’s Traquinolan Center, state police, and district attorney representatives had all arrived at Joya Real to ensure that teens were released from prison. .. Later, for their own safety, the two were detained as part of Mexico’s comprehensive family development system. [known as DIF for its acronym in Spanish]..

“The case of Anaeri is very complicated,” said Neil Arias Bitinio, a lawyer who helped secure the release of the girl. According to Vitinio, one of the complex factors is that Anayeli can only speak the Mixtec language known as Tu’un Savi.

“She was a illiterate girl in a single language and didn’t even have a minimum of school education, so her situation was very difficult,” Vitinio said. “When we talked to her, we noticed that she was very self-conscious. She hardly spoke to us. In most cases she was silent. . “

“This all must be understood in the context of extreme poverty,” said Center Director Valera, within a marginalized indigenous community that has been ignored by the state.

“The government has forgotten these communities. There is no way to study, find a job, or develop artistic abilities here,” Barrera said, and Anaeri’s father was recently killed by an unknown perpetrator. He added that the mother was desperate to protect her family.

Marriage by parents is often considered the only solution. Otherwise, “girls are accused of living in these dire situations,” he said.

Recent reports from Spanish newspapers El PaísThousands“Underage girls across Mexico” are marketed to forced marriage every year. The girls are then forced into hard work and unwanted pregnancies, El País I likened that practice to the practice of “slavery.” One of the notorious incidents that came to light earlier this year was about a woman purchased from her father. 1 mezcal When she was 10 years old.

Inside the American Forced Marriage Epidemic

Vitinio, who often provides legal advice to victims of forced marriage in Guerrero along with the Traquinolan Center, often finds that underage girls “think it very normal and identify it.” Says parents know to go at the age of to deliver them to someone. “

Mostly rural, poor and inhabited by some diverse indigenous peoples, Guerrero is one of the country’s leading states for the sale of children’s brides, alongside neighboring Michoacan and Oaxaca.Last October, when he stopped by the mountains of Guerrero not far from Anaeri’s house in Joyareal, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said. Choose to downplay the problem..

“I’m not here to see it because it’s not a rule,” Obrador said. “There are many moral, cultural and spiritual values. [indigenous] community. [Buying child brides] It may be an exception, but it’s not a rule. “

Groups such as the Mexican Children’s Rights Network soon called the president “ignoreAccording to Mexico News Daily, the country’s “problems with child trafficking, including the sale of girls.”

[T]The President is irresponsible for concealing these serious problems that are occurring in indigenous and rural areas, is unaware of the issue and wants to minimize it. ” Aguilar of the One says. She sees Obrador’s negative attitude in the opposite direction, setting a dangerous precedent for tolerance. It will be taken up and emulated at the state and local levels.

“I think his opinion is sexist and sexist,” said Aguilar, who accused the president. The alienated population. “

Rather than downplaying the issue, Vintinio said the president “should look for a strategy to end the practice of forced marriage.”

But there are signs that today’s generation of girls and young women may not be waiting for outside help from an indifferent president. That they may be fed up with the customs, traditions and patriarchal demands that cause them to be marketed to marriage and ready to take action on their own.

A few days before Obrador gave his inflammatory speech at Guerrero, headlines across the country Another girl Like Anaeri, this victim was also imprisoned by the local police in her village after her father-in-law tried to rape her and then fled her new husband’s house. As with Joya Real’s two minors, this girl also participated in the DIF’s protection program.

Barrera of Tlachinollan says that some girls are still “forced to obey” their parents and are for sale, but trends may be changing and Anayeli’s own escape is inspired by this new trend. Said it was done.

“Now, girls don’t love men, so there are cases where they’re deciding not to get married,” Barrera said. “.

For more information, see The Daily Beast.

Put your top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!

Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside digs deeper into the stories that matter to you. learn more.