“Let me whisper, so no one hears that I speak of selling girls. My voice shouldn’t be heard since it’s against Sharia. Women must remain silent… this is our tradition.”
Sonita Alizadeh raps those powerful lyrics in her song “Daughters for Sale.” In the song’s music video, a young Sonita pleads into the camera while wearing a wedding dress, a barcode stamped on her forehead right above her bruised, tear-filled eyes.
As a child, Sonita and her family fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban. While seeking refuge in Iran, Sonita wrote “Daughters for Sale” after her parents tried to sell her in exchange for her brother’s wife. She watched many of her friends vanish—forced to marry in similar situations she so narrowly avoided. “Daughters for Sale” became a true anthem against child marriage and quickly went viral, grabbing the attention of a nonprofit called Strongheart.
In 2015, Strongheart facilitated Sonita’s move to the United States. And the rest is history. Or really, it’s just the beginning. Now, she receives the formal education women are denied in Afghanistan. She’s featured in over 200 media outlets across 20 countries. She stars in the award-winning documentary about her life, which debuted in Europe last year. She’s spoken from global stages, met world leaders and performed for international crowds.
Sonita calls herself a raptivist, fighting to end child marriage—one performance at a time.