OBANLIKU, Nigeria—Monica, 16, is one of two sisters sold as wives to men who found their photographs on their father’s Facebook page and contacted him. She and her 14-year-old younger sister never wanted to get married until they completed their secondary education in Ogbakoko, a small village in Obanliku Local Government Area in Nigeria’s south-central Cross River state. But the teenage sisters fell victims to a culture which subjects little girls, some as young as 10, to de facto slavery through a tradition called “money marriage.”

The sisters belong to the Becheve community, a large tribe of 17 villages in Obanliku where there is a long tradition in which young girls—often referred to as “money women” or “money wives”—are sold in exchange for food or livestock or cash, or to settle debts.

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