“The Arabs prefer teenage, virgin brides,” says Jameela Nishat, who counsels and sensitises young women against the malaise. Two of her volunteers, Shahida Yasmeen and Tasneem Sultana, in their early twenties experienced the trauma of being scanned by an old Arab. A few months ago, they accompanied an undercover television reporter who was following these sham marriages. They reached a home where half-a-dozen other prospective brides were gathered. “It resembled a brothel. The girls were paraded before the Arab who would lift the girls burqa (veil), run his fingers through their heir, gaze at their figures and converse through an interpretator,” says Yasmeen recalling the day. Most girls inspected by the Arab were minors, and forced by a complex union of their parents and Islamic clerics to yield to he preliminary probes of the Arab.