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Farah Hatim to stay with Muslim family

A Catholic girl who was allegedly kidnapped and forced to marry a Muslim man in Pakistan tearfully tells a court that she will stay with his family, reports Fides and Vatican Insider.

Farah Hatim to stay with Muslim family

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Published: July 21, 2011 09:25 AM GMT

Updated: July 21, 2011 09:36 AM GMT

A Pakistani girl who was allegedly kidnapped and forced to marry a Muslim man has told a high court that she will stay with him, said reports in the Vatican Insider and on Fides. In tears, Farah Hatim appeared before the judge of the High Court of Punjab, Bahawalpur section. When the judge asked her the question "which family do you choose", the girl, after an interminable silence, replied: "Both." The Court argued that "this is impossible", the question was repeated. At that point, Farah chose her new Muslim family. The appeal before the High Court was presented by the APM (All Pakistan Minorities Alliance), after a court of first instance had turned down the family's request to meet the girl The judge allowed Farah to have a private talk with her family for 10 minutes. The girl, say sources of Fides, reported that she was indeed "taken in" but she also confided, visibly shaken, that "she cannot come back". According to Farah's family, the reasons for her choice are not clear: they could be due to death threats or intimidations, but also the possibility that the girl is pregnant. In this case, according to the customary law of Pakistan, Farah cannot help but stay with her husband, because if repudiated, she would be "labeled forever". Well-informed local sources say that Farah is the victim of an organization that traffics in call girls, a network linked to the hospital where the girl worked, created to supply prostitutes to politicians, reports Vatican Insider. Officially, at least in Pakistan, it looks like her case is now considered permanently closed. Her family - according to law - no longer has any authority over her. A separate Fides report estimates that each year, around the world, over 700 thousand people are victims of human trafficking, considered the third largest source of income for criminal organizations that submit the victim to prostitution or forced labor, especially women and children. The largest number of victims are from Asia, with over 225 thousand people annually from Southeast Asia and more than 150 000 from South Asia. In Asia, Pakistan is a source, transit point and destination for men, women and children subject to this phenomenon. Boys and girls are bought, sold, hired, or kidnapped to work in organized, illegal, begging circuits, domestic work, prostitution and forced to work in fields. Girls and women are sold for forced marriages. FULL STORYASIA/PAKISTAN - The Punjab High Court closes the case: Farah Hatim stays with the Muslim family (Fides) Pakistan: Courts declare Farah case closed and girl stays with her “husband” (Vatican Insider) ASIA/PAKISTAN- Criminal organizations continue to exploit women and children for human trafficking (Fides) PHOTO CREDIT Image in a previous Vatican Insider report, Farah, captive bride

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