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Quick Guide to Early Marriage

Early Marriage

A worldwide issue that is considered to be a human rights violation is the forced marriage of a young woman. Usually, this child marriage is arranged by the family of the child in exchange for money. Many of the young girls are under the age of 17 with no education. There are certain countries that have a higher rate of forced marriage than others, but the number of countries who participate in it are estimated at roughly 50. This includes the United States.

A young girl's family often is the one who sets up and encourages the forced marriage. Because of this, breaking away from the practice of child marriage is nearly impossible for these young women. Issues that stem from religious belief, poverty and cultural tradition often result in a young girl's forced marriage.

A study by the United Nations resulted in the findings that child marriage violated many basic human rights of the girls including subjecting them to a life of solitude, servitude, and a lack of education.

In the United States, a young person is legally allowed to marry at the age of 18. If the parents of the individual give consent, then a teenager can be married at 16. However, even the United States has been known to perform child marriage ceremonies that are illegal.

In other countries, girls as young as seven years old have been involved in a forced marriage. Afghanistan in particular is known for child brides and forced marriage. The estimate is that 60 to 80% of marriages that take place there are considered to be a forced marriages. Statistically, child marriage is more likely to take place in a home where the family lives in extreme poverty.

Forced marriage is very common in certain countries and areas. While the country may implement some laws against the forced marriage of a young woman, these laws are often ignored as the individuals follow the typical traditions of the culture to which they are accustomed. While certain countries view forced marriage as tradition, a majority of child welfare advocates see it as prostitution.

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