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Marriage plans

People sit on a bench facing the sea in HammametImage copyright
AFP

In Tunisia, young women are expected to be virgins when they marry, leading to a growing trade in hymen reconstruction surgery.

Yasmine (not her real name) looks nervous. She’s biting her nails and checks her mobile phone constantly.

“I consider this to be deception and I’m really worried,” she says.

We’re on the fourth floor of a private clinic in Tunis – the gynaecology service. Around us in the pink waiting room, other women wait patiently to be seen.

Yasmine confides in me that she is having a hymenoplasty, a short procedure that promises to reconstruct her virginity surgically.

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