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Stolen Brides, Stolen Lives

Kyrgyz bride kidnapping tradition leads to tragedies

It's estimated at least half of brides in Kyrgyzstan are married against their will. This is the result of the tradition called Ala Kachuu, or "grab and run". The ancient Kipchak custom is that a poor young man in love would "steal" a girl, after having her consent, to pay her parents a reduced bride's price. However, with time, this tradition transformed into a serious crime, where girls are abducted against their will and even killed by their kidnappers. Until recently, the penalty for kidnapping was lower than for stealing cattle. Even if they are lucky enough to break free, girls risk losing their reputation and could have to stay with their abuser.

Will these girls ever have a safe future?