The plight of a 17-year-old Indian girl has exposed the extent of Islamic sex tourism, as men flock to the country to buy "one-month wives" for sex.
The girl, Nausheen Tobassum, was forced by her parents to leave their home in Hyderabad, India, to "marry" a 44-year-old Sudanese engineer who had traveled to India solely for the purpose of buying a "wife" for a month so he could have illicit sex with her.
He had paid an agent around $1,800 for Nausheen.
The deal with her family was that he would marry the teenager, have marital "rights" for a month, arrange an immediate divorce and leave the country.
The engineer, Osama Ibrahim, has a wife and two children in Sudan.
While short-term marriages, purely for sexual purposes, are illegal under Islamic tradition, campaigners for Muslim women’s rights say such arrangements are becoming commonplace in southern Indian cities.
They say local male Muslim clerics act as agents, arranging the temporary marriages and exploiting the poverty of local families and their young daughters for financial gain.
Nausheen told police she had been taken to a hotel by her aunt, where three other young girls were waiting. Osama Ibrahim made his choice from the quartet and a local Muslim cleric performed an immediate marriage ceremony, making sex between Nausheen and the Sudanese engineer legal under Islamic law.
Police said it was far easier to arrange such liaisons in India than in Sudan, where there are fewer eligible women. Polygamy is permitted in some Islamic societies.
The Hyderabad Woman and Child Welfare Society estimated there were 15 marriages each month involving "one-month wives."