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Maasai women in Kenya 07
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
23 Oct 2015

Ms. Pauline, the founder and director of Enaitoti NGO for women's rights and education, is a firm anti-FGM campaigner. Every time she shares her own experience, she relives every moment.

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To become adults, Maasai women pay a ...
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
22 Oct 2015

A photo story from Maasai indigenous communities in Narok county, Kenya. In the remnants of the so called "Maasailand" in Maasai Mara National Reserve, many women still undergo female genital mutilation. "Emorata" is an important ritual for Maasai girls to become women, but many increasingly campaign against it. Is female circumcision around to stay as an ancient tradition of this indigenous tribe? Or will the progressive women's rights advocates prevail?

Pauline was 13 years old, when she had been circumcised as tradition required. The purification ritual allows girls to become women and without it, they can never get married. Pauline like so many other young girls lost her genitals and soon was married off to a much older man with numerous wives. Such are traditions of Maasais – one of the most well known and popular indigenous tribes of Africa. They have sustained their traditions and way of life for thousands of years, so changes take time and are not easy to implement.

The painful practice of female circumcision forever mutilates the young girl and therefore leaves a deep scar on femininity of Maasai women. Internationally known as female genital mutilation, it is a violation of woman‘s rights, but in Maasai culture it is a necessary ritual to achieve womanhood and status in a community. Progressive members of the ethnic minority in Kenya however believe the practice will eventually disappear among the Maasai. Opponents propose, that to put an end to FGM in the long-term will empower Maasai women, who are traditionally subordinate to men. The missing and key link, they say, is education.

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Maasai women in Kenya 02
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
22 Oct 2015

Singing and dancing are an integral part of indigenous tribes. Women and men have different roles and popular songs as well as various types of dancing.

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Maasai women in Kenya 03
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
22 Oct 2015

Maasai women line up to inspect visitors to this faraway and isolated "manyata" community deep inside the Maasai Mara National Reserve. One has to walk for hours to fetch water, which is a woman's role in the family and community.

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Maasai women in Kenya 04
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
22 Oct 2015

Women and men live separated lives outside family matters and marriage. Women spend most of the time of the day together engaging in female activities and responsibilities, while men are outside roaming with cattle or hunting.

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Maasai women in Kenya 05
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
22 Oct 2015

Hair is an important indicator of status in the community. Married men and women wear short shaved hair. Young Maasai warriors - morans should keep their hair long until marriage. Young women keep their hair longer before marriage, which is often a sing of being engaged or reserved for their future husbands.

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Maasai women in Kenya 06
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
22 Oct 2015

In Maasai culture, traditionally, women are inferior to men and hold a secondary standing in the family and community. Morans, Maasai warriors, are highly respected with their image of "hunters of lions". Unlike women, men and Morans cannot sit on the ground, as it is considered impolite and even insulting.

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Maasai women in Kenya 08
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
22 Oct 2015

All decisions in family and community in Maasai indigenous tribe, are usually taken by men - whether fathers or sons. Women have very little say about the community, their own family or their bodies.

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Maasai women in Kenya 01
Narok
By Alexandra Demetrianova
21 Oct 2015

Jane is one of handful of women and girls at Enaitoti Women Community Centre, who hasn't been circumcised. She was chased away from home, as her parents had been ashamed of her. Now she is happily married despite the popular belief, that uncircumcised girls can never become women.

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A Contemporary Hell: Life Inside a Ba...
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
07 Mar 2015

Prostitution in Bangladesh has been legal since the year 2000. However, as Bangladesh is a conservative Muslim country, prostitution carries negative social stigmas. Despite this, severe poverty and economic stagnation have forced women previously employed in other sectors to become prostitutes. Furthermore, many sex workers are underage and child prostitution is rife. Female sex workers are often abused and and always underpaid, earning as little as $0.50 per customer.

However, there is growing awareness among sex workers and they have started to organize themselves in unions. One organization of sex workers is called the “Prostitute Association of Faridfur,” founded in Faridpur district, near the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. These associations were formed to establish a “union” among sex workers and protect them from abuse. Despite the face of a unified force in having associations to represent these sex workers, radical Islamic conservatives have openly condemned these women. In 2010, these radicals burned a brothel to the ground. That incident injured two women and left all of the other tenants homeless. 

These photos offer intimate portraits of women who's daily lives consist of abuse and exploitation as they struggle to survive on the fringes of one of the poortest societies on earth. 

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Domestic Workers Face 'Modern Slavery...
Hong Kong
By Miguel Candela
01 Mar 2015

320,000 migrant women are exposed to all kinds of physical and psychological abuse in the domestic service sector of Hong Kong. This story is a testimony of their experiences and struggles.

After being repeatedly abused and realizing that her situation would not improve, in a desperate attempt, Kamsiah ran away from her employer's house without money or documentation. Subsequently she was accused of stealing her employer's wallet which was said to contain around 900 US Dollars. Unfortunately, false accusations are a common practice to pressure migrant workers and avoid paying the wages owed to them. Barefooted, without money nor documentation, she sought refuge in a 24-hour fast food restaurant and waited until another compatriot helped her and took her to a shelter.

Esther C. Bangkawayan is the director of Bethune House shelter, where foreign domestic helpers who suffer abuse find shelter, food, and legal advice. They now house about a dozen women in trouble, but at times they even have to squeeze around 20 people in the small house nestled beside a church in Kowloon. A domestic helper herself, Esther is campaigning the government to scrap two rules she deems unfair: one which forbids employees from changing their employers more than three times a year, and another one which doesn’t allow them from changing to work at another sector of the economy.

42 year old filipino domestic helper Grace signed a misleading labour contract to work in Hong Kong but she instead ended up in Dalian, a northeast Chinese city 1,979 km far from Hong Kong. After confronting her employer about the situation, Grace was put into a return flight to Hong Kong without her pending salary and with only 200 RMB in her wallet. Grace has made now a formal complaint against the recruitment agency which made her labour contract. However, she is not very optimistic regarding her chances of recovering the debt of 40,000 pesos she currently has in the Philippines.

Eni Lestari, Indonesian, is the spokesperson for the Justice for Erwiana Committee. A domestic helper herself, she hopes to get justice for one of her compatriots, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, who came to Hong Kong seeking for a better life and future but instead found a form of modern slavery. Erwiana’€™s employers hit her so severely that her brain has sustained irreversible injuries. As a result, she is unable to walk properly and has blurred vision. Her employer punched Erwiana so violently that her teeth cracked. She was sent to Indonesia with her body full of bruises and 8 US dollars in her pocket. Outraged immigrants like Lestari demand now justice and prison for her attackers. The Court has already declared them guilty and sentence is pending.

On Sundays thousands of Indonesian women gather in the streets and public spaces around Hong Kong to take advantage of their only day off. Most take their own food and an umbrella and talk to their friends all day long.

“€œWe barely have any money, so we have to take our lunch from our employer's house and sit in any public space that we can so we can enjoy our leisure time with our friends,”€ said Kamsiah.

To enjoy their free time and to get to know other immigrant workers in Hong Kong, immigrant groups organize activities for the women, such as beauty contests and self-defense classes in Victoria Park.  Persaudaraan Setia Hati Terate Fight Club teaches women to protect themselves from abusive employers.

Not only helping the women get away from the world of domestic work for the little time they have off or boosting their ability to defend themselves, such activities are the only social contact many have; and friends made during Sundays can be of great importance when difficulties arise.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

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No To Violence Against Women
By ABOUD YOUSSEF
18 Aug 2014

A campaign targeting Lebanese and Arab audiences to raise awareness about violence against women. The video is a dramatized piece designed to convey its message with few words.

The promo shows a housewife cleaning a window with soap. The rhythmic background music gives a sense of danger.
The woman head starts to hit the glass, as a sign of here being battered. No aggressor is shown in the video as a symbol to every man who exercises violence against women.
A green background appears gradually while the woman's head is pushed against the glass to show the woman fainting. Bblood marks appear on the glass while she falls down.
The video dissolves into a black background where the slogan "No.. To Violence Against Women" appears at the end.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By U.S. Editor
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Photo taken on April 6 shows a campaigner writing "Justice" on the street to mark the completion of 100 days of Occupy Baluwatar.

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

Thumb sm
Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Photo taken on April 6 shows a campaigner writing "Justice" on the street to mark the completion of 100 days of Occupy Baluwatar.

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

Thumb sm
Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Photo taken on April 6 shows campaigners writing "Justice" on the street to mark the completion of 100 days of Occupy Baluwatar.

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

Thumb sm
Nepal Reaches 100 Days Protesting Vio...
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
06 Apr 2013

Photo taken on April 6 shows a campaigner writing "Justice" on the street to mark the completion of 100 days of Occupy Baluwatar.

Occupy Baluwtar, a campaign protesting violence against women, completed 100 days on April 6, 2013.

On 28 December 2012 the campaign began, seeking justice for Sita Rai, a migrant worker who was robbed by officials at TIA and raped by a policeman, according to media reports.

Every day from 9 am to 11 am, a group of people join the protest in front of the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar.

They have been protesting against the alleged murder of Saraswati Subedi, the disappearance of Chorimaiya Maharjan, and killings of Shiva Hasmi and Bindu Thakur.

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Stolen Brides: Syrian Refugee Women i...
Al Mafraq, Jordan
By Sharron Ward
29 Mar 2013

An exclusive powerful film exposing the sexual exploitation and abuse of Syrian refugee women who are subjected to "pleasure marriages," rape, kidnapping and sexual harassment in Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan.
Duration: 10 minutes
Format: HD 16:9 1080i 1920 x 1080 25 fps, Apple Pro Res HQ 422 PAL
Viewing format: 4:3 low res version

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Flash mob in Kuala Lumpur (5 of 5)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Annette Gartland
08 Mar 2013

Malaysians call for an end to violence against women. Hundreds of people danced to the song "Break the Chain" in a Flash Mob organised by Body Shop staff in Kuala Lumpur on International Women's Day, 2013.

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Flash mob in Kuala Lumpur (4 of 5)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Annette Gartland
08 Mar 2013

Malaysians call for an end to violence against women. Hundreds of people danced to the song "Break the Chain" in a Flash Mob organised by Body Shop staff in Kuala Lumpur on International Women's Day, 2013.

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Flash mob in Kuala Lumpur (3 of 5)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Annette Gartland
08 Mar 2013

Malaysians call for an end to violence against women. Hundreds of people danced to the song "Break the Chain" in a Flash Mob organised by Body Shop staff in Kuala Lumpur on International Women's Day, 2013.

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Flash mob in Kuala Lumpur (2 of 5)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Annette Gartland
08 Mar 2013

Malaysians call for an end to violence against women. Hundreds of people danced to the song "Break the Chain" in a Flash Mob organised by Body Shop staff in Kuala Lumpur on International Women's Day, 2013.

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Flash mob in Kuala Lumpur (1 of 5)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Annette Gartland
08 Mar 2013

Malaysians call for an end to violence against women. Hundreds of people danced to the song "Break the Chain" in a Flash Mob organised by Body Shop staff in Kuala Lumpur on International Women's Day, 2013.

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The Kidnapped Brides of Kyrgyzstan
Bishkek
By Daniel Burgui Iguzkiza
31 Jan 2011

Text and photos by Daniel Burgui Iguzkiza

FULL ARTICLE IN ENGLISH UPON REQUEST
(ARTICLE COMPLET EN FRANCAIS SI-JOINT) (ARTICULO COMPLETO EN ESPAÑOL ANEXADO)

Although there are no reliable statistics, it is estimated that one in three women in Kyrgyzstan are kidnapped and married against their will. Young women are often forced to marry the men who abduct them, in many cases complete strangers, and sometimes violently.

When Bermet left her home in the morning, nothing made her suspect that by the end of that day; she would be a married woman. Bermet, 19, was abducted by a stranger in Bishkek as she was coming back from her college philology class. She was violently forced into her captor's car, where she spent more than three hours fighting her abduction on the way to a house in Cholpon-Ata, in a remote village hundreds of kilometres far from her place at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital city. Exhausted by her efforts, she decided to quit. “I decided stop fighting because I was exhausted and I was nearly to faint”, she narrates now, at her mother-in-law's house. She was isolated in a room and after passing a night there she was forced to get married. She eventually got pregnant by her kidnapper. Today, her husband.

Elmira Elimsolova, a woman nearing fifty-years-old, and her daughter were both married against their will.

"I was kidnapped when I was young and I have had seven children and a good husband,” she said. “Two of my four daughters have been kidnapped too. I cried a lot, I did not want that for them, but now they are happy."

Although bride kidnapping is against Kyrgyz law and officially prosecuted, few kidnappers have been condemned. In fact, during the last 20 years there have been only two resolutions.

The most recent sentence it was, a year ago, by the end of October 2013. A 30 year-old man who had raped twice a 17-years old teen. It took place on the region of Bakai-Ata. He attempted to kidnap her in three failed occasions.

The first time he tried to abduct her was on August 27, 2012; but her parents went on time to rescue and release her. The same evening, just few hours after the first attempt, he, unsuccessfully, tried to kidnap her again. During the following weeks, he threatened her via sms texting in order to make her keep silent about the sexual aggression. Because of shame, She never told to her parents. But on September 9th 2012, he abducted the young girl again. This time, the kidnaper was able to retain his potential bride a couple of days in a cottage thanks to the collaboration of the family of the supposed groom. He raped her again. This is a usual way to sustain the forced marriage, arguing that it has been consummated, obviously by force. But, the insistence of the parents of the girl and their efforts for her release were filled at the midnight of Sept 11th 2012 when a local Police squad entered at the captor’s house, arrested him and freed the girl.

During the trial of this case, the judge –a lady, not a man– asked to the accused: “Would you be disposed to apologize to the victim and marry her?”. Or even worst, during the trial, the victim was asked to not continue the process: “They are offering to you a wealthy family, a good mother in law, a handsome husband, why are you doing that? Why do you need to continue with this process?”

Munara Beknazarova, a women rights activist and head of Open Line Foundation, who has been following this case and its long and bizarre process at the Court says that this is a clear example of how socially accepted is this practice on the Kyrgyz people. Finally the perpetrator of the kidnap and aggression was sentenced to five years of imprisonment. But he only was charged of kidnapping. The medical examiners were never able to probe the sexual aggression.

While the practice remains prevalent in many regions of Kyrgyzstan, everyday citizens, activists and professionals are now speaking out against the practice of kidnapping women for marriage.

Kuban Kurmanbekovich, 32, is a nomadic shepherd from Talastan, near the Kochkor region. Although they now live in a remote area, he met his wife Elnura Amasilieva, 32, at college. They have three children: Arsen, Adelina and Esen. During the USSR era, Kuban studied Agricultural Engineering, while Elnura studied Economics. They met in a disco, fell in love and married.

"I do not want anyone to kidnap my daughter. Kidnapping is not a Kyrgyz tradition. It's just a pretext made by evil people", he says.

Dr. Turganbubu Orunbaeva, a medical doctor and feminist activist, has spent the last twenty years on the vanguard of eradicating the bride kidnapping tradition in her region. She conducts training sessions and conferences for teens, the Islamic authorities, police and abducted women. She also offers her support to women who have been victims of any kind of vulnerable situation or gender violence through her association called 'Bakubat,' which means 'comfort' in the Kyrgyz language.

Professor Kleinbach, an emeritus doctor from the University of Philadelphia, has been investigating bride kidnapping for the last twenty years. He says that even some of his students at the university fear being kidnapped. Some of the young ladies wear false wedding rings as a safeguard against abduction, arguing that they are already married.

However, some creative couples have used the practice to their advantage. One young man even kidnapped his bride at her behest.

After several years dating Mariam, Solo was still not able to save enough money for their wedding. The dowry set by Mariam’s father was simply too expensive for him to afford. A few weeks before their marriage, Solo kidnapped Mariam at her request in order to avoid paying the dowry. “We were in love,” the two said. “This was the only way for us to overcome Mariam’s father’s price on his daughter’s hand in marriage.”