A 17-year-old girl has exposed Islamic sex tourism in India where Muslim men from the Middle East and Africa are buying one-month wives for sex.
Campaigners for Muslim women's rights said while short-term "contract marriages" are illegal in India and forbidden in Islam, they are increasing in Hyderabad, where wealthy foreigners, local agents and "Qazis" - government-appointed Muslim priests - are exploiting poverty among the city's Muslim families.
Nausheen Tobassum escaped from her home after her parents pressured her to consummate a forced marriage to a middle aged Sudanese man who had paid around $2,100 for her to be his "wife" for four weeks.
She told police she had been taken by her aunt to a hotel where she and three other teenager girls were introduced to a Sudanese oil company executive. The "groom", Usama Ibrahim Mohammed, 44 and married with two children in Khartoum, later arrived at her home where a Qazi performed a wedding ceremony.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
According to Inspector Vijay Kumar, he had paid 100,000 rupees (around $2,190) to the girl's aunt, Mumtaz Begum, who in turn paid 70,000 rupees to her parents, 5,000 rupees to the Qazi, 5,000 rupees to an Urdu translator and kept 20,000 rupees herself.
The wedding certificate came with a "Talaknama", which fixed the terms of the divorce at the end of the groom's holiday.
"The next day he came to the house of the victim girl and asked her to participate in sex but she refused. She is a young girl and the groom is older than her father," Inspector Kumar said.
Instead, she ran out of her tiny one-room home and was rescued by a police patrol. Police arrested the groom, the victim's aunt and the Qazi, and issued a warrant for her parents' arrest - Nausheen is a minor under Indian law and cannot marry until she reaches 18. Her parents are now in hiding but will be charged with arranging a child marriage, "outraging the modesty" of a woman, and criminal conspiracy.
Inspector Kumar said the visitors want to marry because they believe prostitution is forbidden under Islam. Poor families agree to contract marriages because they have many daughters and cannot afford to pay for all their weddings. Instead, they have a series of one-month contract "marriages" to fund their own genuine wedding.
Nausheen Tobassum is now living in a government home for girls.