Outraged women lawyers in South Sudan are up in arms against family of a 17-year-old girl who auctioned her for marriage to a man in exchange for 520 heifers, 3 Toyota V8 cars and KSh 1 million, calling for prosecution of the family.
A total of six suitor reportedly engaged in a contest of wealth after in which one of them emerged as the highest bidder to marry Nyalong Ngong Deng after two weeks of fierce contest.
Some of the bidders included South Sudanese tycoon Kok Alat who offered 520 heifers, three Toyota V8 cars and KSh 1 million, David Mayom Riak came third with 353 cows in addition to a parcel of land as well as Mawut Agorok who also offered 187 animals, according to Tuko.co.ke.
Although, Kok Alat emerged the highest bidder and teenager was presented to him, acting executive director the National Alliance for Women Lawyers, Monica Adhiue argues that the practice is not only demeaning to womanhood, but also amounts to commoditisation of women.
She emphatically stated that: “The practice is a gross human rights violation and violates the rights of a girl. It does not only deprive the girl child from education and limit her future opportunities in her life, but also increases the risk of violence, jeopardises her health, reduces the girl child to a property, and deprives her from the right to choose.”
Monica Adhiue did not leave the South Sudanese government officials out. She called on the state to bring those of them who played any role in the auctioning to be brought to book.
“They need to be suspended from their office and this case to be investigated and, of course, whoever is involved in this auctioning also later needs to be properly investigated and held accountable because this is a violation of human rights,” the lawyer said.
The practice of selling off young girls in an auction to the highest bidder seems to be a normal practice in South Sudan, but human rights activists and feminists are now rising up against the practice.