A woman from Indiana has been arrested and charged after police alleged she sold her 13-year-old daughter to a 27-year-old man.
The Fort Wayne Police Department says that Se Dar Be, 37, the child’s mother, then forced her to marry him. They celebrated the wedding with a party, authorities said. However, the parents denied it was a wedding. Instead, the pair insisted that it was “only an engagement between the girl and Zee Kdee Ya,” according to court records.
The mother maintained that her daughter was not to marry the man until she was 18.
Police say they received a call on Dec. 20, 2020, from a friend of the minor, informing them that her friend was being forced to marry the man that night.
Dar Be was charged with child selling where the defendant transfers or receives property for terminating the care of a dependent and neglect of a dependent. Her husband, Sadid Mot, was also charged, per WPTA.
Zee Kdee Ya, the man who allegedly purchased the child, was also charged with child solicitation and neglect of a dependent.
Police records state that Ya gave the child a gold bracelet, necklace and about $2,000 in cash, which she turned over to her parents. She reportedly moved in with him and was forced to shared with the adult male.
The victim told investigators that when Ya allegedly tried to touch her on top of her clothes, she screamed at him to leave her alone. He then quoted the Bible to her and told the girl: “I own you now. I can make you do what I want,” according to court documents. The victim also claimed that her parents told her she “needed to have sex with Ya because he was now her husband.”
Reports indicate that the girl’s mother was released on bond hours after her arrest.
Throughout the country, many states allow child marriage with parental approval. Usually, these allowances are made under special circumstances such as pregnancy, with a judge’s approval, or no other justification.
In several states, including Oregon and Nebraska, minors must be at least 17 to get married with parental consent. Other states set minimums at 15 or 16. In nine states, including California, no minimum age is set whatsoever if certain conditions are met. Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania — do not allow child marriage under any circumstance.
There is currently a widespread push to reverse laws allowing child marriage.