Skip to content

SOLD WHILE IN WOMB: Girls, sold, abducted given away in developing nations

By Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation
7/20/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Disregard for human life, particularly those of females, remains shocking issue

 In Ethiopia, girls are abducted on their way to school, raped and then married to their captors. In Ghana, they are married to traditional priests and become "slaves to the gods" to pay for their family's sins. In Cameroon, girls are promised in marriage to settle debts while still in the womb. "There are different forms of child marriage but all these different forms have one common point, which is the girl doesn't have a voice," Francoise Kpeglo Moudouthe, Africa officer for the advocacy group Girls Not Brides, told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Girls Not Brides is campaigning for ending child marriage to be made one of the Sustainable Development Goals being drawn up to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which expire in 2015.

Girls Not Brides is campaigning for ending child marriage to be made one of the Sustainable Development Goals being drawn up to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which expire in 2015.

Highlights

By Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/20/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Girls, young women, abduction, rape, slavery, developing nations


NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - "Her status in the community is so low that she doesn't even have a right to speak about this issue: if she wants to marry, when she wants to marry and who she wants to marry."

GIRLS AS COMMODITIES

On July 22, the Girl Summit in London will bring together governments, charities, activists and business to declare their intention to end child marriage in one generation.

Let's pray that many people will have a change of heart to do what's right --

Fifteen of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage are in Africa, and 39 percent of the continent's girls are married before the age of 18.

Niger has the highest rate, with 75 percent of girls married before they are 18.

Moudouthe believes that the summit's ambitious goal of ending child marriage in a generation can be achieved.

"The most important thing is to change the way that girls are viewed. For me, that really is the underlying problem," she said. "Girls are not commodities. We cannot sell them into marriage. We cannot decide what to do with their bodies."

Child marriage is a tradition that is practised to preserve a girl's chastity, to strengthen ties between families and to cope, as a response to poverty. In many African countries, parents receive a bride price from the groom's family when their daughter marries, and are relieved of the burden of providing for her.

Engagement with the 70 million child brides around the world is critical to breaking the cycle.

"It's an inter-generational issue," Moudouthe said. "Girls who are forced into marriage, and are not made aware of the unfairness of the situation, are likely to have daughters who also become child brides."

In Ethiopia, Moudouthe met a 13-year-old girl breastfeeding her second baby. She had been married at the age of six or seven.

The teenage mother was attending a discussion club for child brides called Meserete Hiwot, meaning "base of life" in Amharic. The majority of mothers who attend have not completed primary school and benefit from learning about assertiveness, hygiene, financial literacy and reproductive health.

"It is so important because girls are confined in marriage. They are usually not allowed out of the house," said Moudouthe. "Not only do they learn about their rights but also how to handle the day to day challenges. How do you know when your child is sick and what can you do about it?"

STRATEGIES

Other strategies that experts say can help to end child marriage are supporting girls to remain in school, enforcing laws banning child marriage, teaching girls skills so that they can earn money for their families and educating communities about the negative impacts of the practice.

Girls Not Brides is campaigning for ending child marriage to be made one of the Sustainable Development Goals being drawn up to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which expire in 2015.

"When you look at the obstacles [to achieving the MDGs], child marriage is a common one in that it affects six of the eight MDGs," Moudouthe said.

The world cannot achieve universal primary education if girls drop out of school to get married. Nor can extreme poverty be eradicated when child marriage perpetuates poverty.

The third goal, gender equality, is directly challenged by child marriage.

Similarly, it is hard to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health when young girls get pregnant and give birth before their bodies are mature.

"The children of girls who had them below the age of 15 are 60 percent more likely to die within their first year," Moudouthe said. "And girls who are pregnant before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die or be injured during their pregnancy or childbirth [than older women]."

The sixth goal linked to child marriage is combating HIV/AIDS, which affects child brides more than unmarried sexually active teenagers.

"They are married to men who are very often much older and who have sexual experience already, and with whom they have very little capacity to negotiate for safe sexual practices," Moudouthe said.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for MARCH 2017
Support for Persecuted Christians.
That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.


Comments


More U.S.

Walking in the footsteps of migrants

Image of

Recently, I was given a unique opportunity to taste some of the bitter hardships endured by fellow human beings fleeing drug-gang violence, ... continue reading


Hero paramedic rescues baby after discovering car submerged in freezing lake Watch

Image of Todd Zobrist insists he was simply at the right place at the right time (Facebook).

On Thursday, March 16, a fire broke out in a Southern Illinois home at 5:15 a.m. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Six siblings escaped ... continue reading


Severely abused dog reveals heart of gold when she rescues freezing toddler from certain death Watch

Image of Peanut didn't let her past affect her feelings toward humans (Delta Animal Shelter/Facebook).

An adorable dog named Petunia, who also answers to Peanut, went from rescue to rescuer. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Peanut was ... continue reading


Jennifer Hartline: Making the Case for Confirmation as a Sacrament, not a Service Project Watch

Image of Pope Francis conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation on a young man.

Confirmation should not be used as some sort of spiritual barometer or test. Show us you know what it means to be a Christian, or ... continue reading


St. Patrick is our Model for this New Missionary Age Watch

Image of Patrick, the missionary to Ireland and a model to all missionaries

I think I stand with the Apostle to Ireland by rejecting the use of the term, "post-Christian" as it relates to the West of this hour. He ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.