Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told Newsmax that several Afghan refugees coming into America are bringing underage brides with them due to a lack of vetting earlier in the process.
''You have heard me say many times we're so concerned about the trafficking that takes place on the southern border and knowing that children are being trafficked,'' Blackburn said Tuesday on ''Eric Bolling: The Balance.''
''And when you look at the fact that cartels are making more money from trafficking human beings than they are on trafficking drugs, it certainly would raise the suspicion, if you will, that is what is happening as they are fleeing the Middle East.''
Blackburn said that is why thorough vetting must be done early on to find out about these cases where, in some instances, young girls were ''married'' off to much older men as a condition of getting them out of Afghanistan.
The chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces by Aug. 31, and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on Aug. 14, left thousands of Americans, other foreign nationals and Afghans flocking to the airport in the capital city, Kabul, to try to flee.
As the refugees from that exodus emerge in ''transit hubs'' such as Qatar, or even those who make it to the United States, have generated reports of child brides appearing with older men.
According to an Associated Press report Sept. 3, the ''frantic'' evacuation of Afghanistan saw older men admitted with young girls that were claimed to be ''brides'' or were otherwise sexually abused.
Numerous incidents have been documented at relocation centers in the United Arab Emirates as well as in Wisconsin, where most Afghan refugees have entered the U.S., the story said.
Blackburn said the hasty departure from Afghanistan by the administration of President Joe Biden led to a lack of vetting, allowing more of these cases to get through.
''What we are going have to do first of all is make certain that we protect these young girls, that they be given the ability to be protected from these men and from these forced marriages, that they be removed from these situations that are harmful to them — physically, psychologically,'' she said.
While this may seem simple, underage marriage is not uncommon in Afghanistan and is often viewed as a ''transaction'' among families, usually in the poorer, more rural areas of the country.
According to a Radio Free Europe report from August 2019, some 15% of Afghan marriages involve minors, and while it is mostly young girls that are traded, boys can also be placed in arranged situations to protect the family's legal rights.
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