In South Sudan, a 17-year-old girl identified as Nyalong Ngong Deng was auctioned for marriage to any man in exchange for 520 heifers, 3 Toyota V8 cars and KSh 1 million.
According to reports, for two weeks now, six suitors has reportedly engaged in a fierce contest of wealth after in which one of them would emerge as the highest bidder to marry Nyalong Ngong Deng.
Some of the top bidders included South Sudanese business tycoon Kok Alat, he 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. Then, Mawut Agorok who also offered 187 animals.
Kok Alat emerged as the highest bidder, Nyalong Ngong Dengwas was presented to him. He married her.
The 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 said:
“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.