‘This is your daughter, isn’t she?’ The voice was direct; the question unambiguous. ‘Is this your daughter; have you tried to sell your child?’ An impoverished young mother had opened the door of her house to what she thought were visitors. The visitors were actually a TV crew from ARY TV, one of Pakistan’s popular private television channels. She stared in stunned silence through the gap between the wooden door and frame. Standing on the other side was a reporter cradling a baby. Like a volley, the question came again. ‘Is this your daughter; have you tried to sell your child?’

‘No, it isn’t,’ she replied, barely audible. ‘It isn’t my child.’

‘Swear on the Qur’an that it isn’t.’

More silence followed, before she begged the crew to turn off the cameras and she promised to let him inside. A few seconds later viewers to this incident, broadcast in January 2012, were led inside a one-room shack, the cameras still rolling.

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