Saudia Arabia: 70-year-old man marries 15-year-old girl for $20K

Human rights advocates say a 70-year-old man has married a 15-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia, after the girl's parents sold her to him for about $20,000. News of the transaction emerged after the man complained to a local official that the girl's family had reposessed her, so he'd been ripped off. (CNN)


  1. Oh good, have we (well, Saudi Arabia) advanced enough as a culture that we consider this newsworthy now? 

    Or is it only news because the girl left him and returned to her family? 

  2. Any sex outside of marriage is illegal in Saudi Arabia, including prostitution, yet you can arrange to buy a child bride.

    I was really hoping for the apocalypse.

  3. All the quoted outrage stems from the age of the girl, but nothing about the fact that she was SOLD by her parents?  You can argue all day over whether or not a 15 year old is capable of consenting to marriage, but the slavery issue here is pretty cut and dry.

    1. Excellent point. I really would like to see the headline rewritten as “70-year-old man ‘buys’ 15-year-old ‘bride'”. As it’s written now it does downplay the fact that this was the purchase of one human being by another.

      1. Yes,

        “70-year-old man purchases 15-year-old woman, claims ownership via contract, demands refund or replacement with warranty claim based on contract when manufacturer revokes contract”

        The problem is mostly the slavery although the age is disturbing too

        Only the last paragraph of the article really addresses that, lady tells it straight

    2. I agree with you 100%. It surprises me that folks are so conditioned to react with knee-jerkery to “Teh Underrraage” while truly horrific terms like “human trafficking” resonate so little with them.

    1. I’m with Antinous on this.  Historically, marriages have been arranged and brides “sold” for centuries. Even in western culture we have traditions that have been shaped by such things, like the brides parents paying for a wedding.  That doesn’t happen so much now, but it was kind of a thing not that long ago.

      Besides is this really any worse than an arranged marriage (minus the creepy age difference…)?

      1. Initially marriage seems to have been a contract between agnates and cognates to ensure/allow sexual and economic reproduction in which the whole society had an interest through incest taboos and the creation of inclusive trading networks. If the interests of society were safeguarded in the negotiations then so were those of the individual.
        The problem arises with the family which is opposed to the interests of the whole society, through the relaxation of incest taboos and the development of exclusive trade networks. As the interests of the wider society are neglected so are those of the individual and arranged marriages and buying and selling of brides becomes the norm.
        I do not see how love marriages are ultimately compatible with the family.
        What is all that squabbling about in Genesis and the Pentateuch if not the shift from negotiated to arranged marriages and the downplaying of cognate involvement in negotiations and the exclusion of society? Religious ceremonies and sanctions create the illusion of inclusivity.
        The family is the problem.

  4. this is ok. these are the friendly regimes, so who cares? slavery? fine too, these people have oil and they are selling it to us. so basically, nothing wrong here.

    1. Well, it may be cold comfort but nothing changes the concrete undeniable fact that OIL is all these regimes have and they can’t drink it. 
      Another decade and it’ll be all over for them. 
      Don’t see the Saudis aren’t investing very heavily in alternative energy R&D. 

  5. I don’t understand people age is
    just a number.

    I am 67 and my girlfriend is 23
    went to dinner last week people snickered and stared

    ruined our 10 yr anniversary

      1. Why, because you can’t handle the fact that people might be interested in personality rather than age? Young people with 0 years of age difference can have relationships far more creepy than people with a huge age gap.

        Of course in this case since the girl was sold into slavery, it IS creepy, but would it really be any less creepy if the guy who “bought” her had been 25?

      2. It is not a joke. In case you were unaware of it, there is a term for people who hold such opinions – it is an agist. When you are 67 you will realize that the joke is on you.

        1. Wow, you really missed the joke.  Or you’re at some level of meta that’s beyond me.

  6. What happened to the good old days where if you wanted to bang underage girls you had to be a rock star or ridiculously rich man who intentionally sets out to attract gold-diggers? 

  7. I’m not advocating for selling children, but I doubt the reliability of the story, as of right now.

    So far, I’ve seen it reported in 3 different news outlets (BBCNews, CNN, etc.), and although the age of the bride in question is always the same, the age of the groom varies vastly (the BBC says he’s 90).

    In a side note In Re: Muslim Slavery – slavery was for centuries only permitted in Islamic cultures so long as the slaves sold were infidels (i.e. not Muslim or the “wrong” kind of Muslim). During the Ottoman empire (17th Century), the most valued slaves in Muslim harems were blondes from Russia and the Caucasus, and raids into the borderlands between the Ottoman Empire and Russia were carried out specifically to kidnap women for this purpose. I’m not sure if “modern” Muslim advocates of slavery use the same distinction, though.

    1. the age of the groom varies vastly (the BBC says he’s 90).

      Please meditate on the accuracy of record keeping in Saudi Arabia between 1923 and 1943. Particularly since this happened in the Saudi version of Bugtussle, not in a city.

  8. So what’s so strange about this?

    Here in Italy 70+ pigs (ex PMs and politicians, usually) usually have scores of minors as bedwarmers… and according to police wiretaps they are even cheaper at €2,500 per month.

  9.  Granted. Something I had not taken into account. Also, as CNN has actually spoken to the man, in retrospect, it’s believable.

    I didn’t post the comment in order to dispute whether it happened at all (it happens all the time), but rather to point out the differences in the versions reported, which always gives me some pause for thought in re: journalistic thoroughness.

    But then again, in journalism, leaving out a single word in a sentence gives me pause for though, as I tend to distrust any source that doesn’t properly copy-edit and proofread their material before it’s published (in a past life, I was a newspaper editor).

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