Every spring, the town of Stara Zagora in central Bulgaria hosts a controversial bride market where young virgins are paraded in front of suitors who bid on them. The market is the biggest annual get-together for Bulgaria’s 18,000-strong Kalaidzhi Roma clan.
The clan is a subgroup of the Roma people who face constant prejudice and exclusion across Europe. Unable to live off their ancient coppersmith heritage, the constantly sensationalised bride markets are one of the last surviving Kalaidzhi traditions.
To find out why these medieval-sounding markets exist in modern Europe, and how Kalaidzhi girls feel about being sold off, Broadly correspondent Milène Larsson travels to the village of Orizovo to spend time with a family with two daughters as they’re preparing for the annual bride market. Watch the full VICE episode below.