"I would have sold myself, but Amara was the only virgin in our family. We had to sell her, in order to allow the rest of us survive. What else could I do?" asks 22-year old Amani, who lives in a refugee camp in Zaatari, near the border with Jordan.

Amani, who works for an NGO, had fled Damascus frightened by the Syrian conflict, which has been raging for nearly three years.

The 22-year-old Amani, mother of five children, was reportedly left with no choice but to give away her sister to look after her own family.

Reports from the region suggest several Jordanians, Saudis and Egyptians are on the hunt for virgins as some of the desperately poor Syrian parents are willing to give up their teenage girls in return for money.

"It isn't rare in Syria to marry at the age of 16. Most Arab men are aware of this, and often come to Syria to find a young bride. These days, they come to find them at the camps, where almost everybody is desperate to leave. I have seen Jordanians, Egyptians and Saudis passing by the tents in search of a virgin to take along. They pay 300 dollars, and they get the girl of their dreams," Amani told Inter Press Service.

With no end in sight to the Syrian civil war, the plight of Syrians both displaced and living in the country is only turning worse.

In Syria, girls commonly get married before they are 18. But the concept of early marriage is being deeply dented by the crisis.

Families often find it best to sell off their girls fearing rape and abduction in the refugee camps.

International aid organisations, governments and the United Nations are stunned by the sheer scale of the refugee crisis dubbing it as one of the most challenging in this generation.

The number of Syrian refugees forced out of the country is currently estimated to be around 2.1 million and the UN expects it rise to 3.5 million by the end of 2013.

Neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, are struggling to cope with the crisis and are already experiencing the fallout of the Syrian conflict on their territories.