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A survivor’s tale: Woman recounts being repeatedly bought and sold

By Malik Aslam

CHINIOT: A woman kidnapped from Karachi one and a half years ago was found in the Bhowana tehsil after she managed to escape her kidnappers.

Arifa bibi* (45) told police officials that she had been kidnapped nearly two years ago and sold repeatedly for the past year. Arifa said that she had been sold and passed off from one man to another and had been raped repeatedly over the year.

Arifa, who is the wife of Zain, said that one of her husband’s friends Saad used to visit the couple regularly. “One day he came to our house in my husband’s absence and brought some sweets. I ate the sweets and fainted and he abducted me,” she told police officials.

Arifa told the police that she was brought from Karachi to Chiniot, where she was forced to change her name to Shazia Zahir. “Saad made me sign a nikah nama and forced me to change my name. He kept me for two months and then sold me for Rs40,000 to his brother,” she said.

Arifa said that two months after Saad had abducted her she had been sold to his brother Zahoor and that he also made her sign a marriage certificate. “He made me work around the house and tied me up in chains for three months. He would assault me every night,” Arifa told police officials, adding that three months later Zahoor sold her to his nephew Ahmed.

Arifa said that Zahoor’s nephew Ahmed was barely twenty years old and abused her for two months. “He used to burn my body with hot iron and beat me but there was no one around for miles so I couldn’t scream for help,” Arifa said. Arifa told police officials that she had tried to escape several times but she had been locked up and closely monitored by her captors. “They kept moving me from one place to another. Every few months I was sold off to someone new and eventually I even began to forget where I was,” she said, adding that Ahmed had sold her two months later to two men for a price of Rs80,000. “I was trying to find a way out but both brothers had me under lock and key for several months,” Arifa said, adding that on Monday, she found a chance to escape. Arifa said that she managed to escape from the window at nearly 5:30 am and ran for help. “I stopped at the first house I could find and implored for help,” she said. “We found her begging for help outside the door and when I heard the story I told the police,” said Bhuwana Chowk 230 resident Mazhar Jappa, adding that he and his wife took Arifa in and waited with her until the police recovered her. Bhuwana Police has filed cases against Saad, Ahmed, Zahoor and two other men. Police officials have already captured Ahmed and are investigating the incident. “The woman is currently in our custody and we are pursuing the matter,” said station house officer Chaudhary Muhammad Malik Gujjar. “We are trying to locate her husband but he has changed his address and is no longer in the same village,” the SHO said.

Source: The Express Tribune

Date:2/2/2011

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