Sonita’s Harrowing Journey: A Victim of Forced Marriage

Farrukh Saif

June 7, 2024

Sonita forced conversion

Sonita, an 18-year-old girl with four younger siblings, faced immense challenges growing up in a poor family. Her father was the sole provider, but when he fell ill, the family was forced to take out a loan of 40,000 PKR. With accumulating interest, the debt soon ballooned to 100,000 PKR. To help pay off this debt, Sonita had to start working in a factory.

Unwanted Attention:

At the factory, her supervisor, Ramzan Ali, initially appeared to be offering her guidance because she was new. However, Sonita soon realized his intentions were far from professional. He would ask her intrusive questions about her family and their financial struggles. Learning about her debt, he proposed that the factory could pay it off if she converted to Islam and married him. Sonita, firm in her Christian faith, refused his offer and stated she would only marry her parents’ consent.

A Night of Horror:

Despite her constant rejections, the supervisor persisted daily. One night, during her shift, he brought tea for everyone. Shortly after drinking it, Sonita felt unwell and informed her friend. The friend advised her to rest, but as her dizziness worsened, she asked her friend to inform the supervisor. He suggested she rest in his office and promised to take her home later. However, upon reaching his office, Sonita fainted.

When she regained consciousness, she found herself locked in a room. In a state of panic, she banged on the door, but no one came. Eventually, the supervisor entered and threatened her, showing her marriage papers and declaring that she was now his wife. Despite her pleas for freedom, he physically abused her, treating her with extreme cruelty.

Escape and Return:

For two months, Sonita endured this nightmarish ordeal until she finally managed to escape and return home. She recounted her harrowing experience to her family, who, with the help of a supportive organization, took legal action and moved to a safe location. This organization has been providing them with the necessary support and assistance.

Listen to Her Story:

Seeking Justice: A New Beginning

When our pastor found out about Sonita, he visited her family and listened to her story. Immediately after that, he contacted our legal team for assistance. Ramzan Ali, her so-called husband, threatened them and demanded the return of his “wife.” Our legal team first filed a police complaint, and now we have filed a case in court for the annulment of this marriage.

Due to the fear of Islamist retaliation, we have moved the family to a safe location. We request you to pray for Sonita and her family.

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Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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