A 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl who was kidnapped in Egypt has finally been returned to her family after three months in captivity, a leading persecution media watchdog has reported.
World Watch Monitor reports that the Christian girl known by the name Marylin was rescued after police located her and arrested her captors in a town just outside of Cairo on Sept. 30.
Marylin, who is from a village outside of Minya and hundreds of miles away from where she was found, had been missing since June 28 and was believed to be at risk of being married off or sold.
"Recently we found out that Marilyn was held in a place in 10th of Ramadan city. ... We went to the local police station and they really did their best to reach her and managed to arrest her kidnapper, Taha, and his brother, Gaber, and release Marilyn," The village priest, Father Boutros Khalaf, told World Watch Monitor. "She returned back to her family on Saturday, Sept. 30, after 92 days."
The priest added that Marylin had "not been treated well" by her captors and that she is "very happy to be back with her family."
"We thank God for answering our prayers and the prayers of many other people," he added. "And we thank all the policemen in the police station that helped us so much in releasing our daughter, Marilyn. We appreciate their great efforts."
As Open Doors USA ranks Egypt as one of the worst countries in the world when it come to Christian persecution, It was earlier reported that Marylin is one of many Coptic girls in Egypt who've been seduced by men who turn out to be recruits for Salafist organizations that kidnap girls and force them into unwanted marriages.
According to a former kidnapper who spoke with World Watch Monitor, the captors target Coptic Christian girls, girls from wealthy families and even daughters of priests, and are paid by Islamic radical groups who seek to convert them to Islam, marry them off or sell them.
"Marilyn was seduced by a recruit of a Salafi organization. She was involved in a love affair; he was then able to convince her to run away with him," an anonymous researcher told World Watch Monitor. "Marilyn isn't 18 yet. So even if she had agreed to go with Taha, in our law, this is clearly a case of kidnapping a minor."
For many girls who are forced into Islamic marriages, life is an endless series of traumatic events.
"Their husbands don't love them, they just marry her to make her a Muslim. She will be hit and humiliated. And if she tries to escape, or convert back to her original religion, she will be killed," a former kidnapper named G admitted in his interview with the persecution news outlet. "The most shocking thing is some girls find out that they are a second wife and are treated like animals. Some are sent to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to work as domestic servants and they are exploited sexually and are seriously physically abused."