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The girl was rescued from Karim’s home when he was arrested and sent to a women’s shelter to be in safe hands until her parents could come get her. Though officials state that the girl did not undergo any physical or mental harm, all she could say after her rescue was “I am afraid of this man.”
Sadly, while this six-year-old was able to be rescued and will be reunited with her family, many children tricked or forced into such marriages aren’t so lucky.
Child Marriage in Afghanistan
Although the legal age of consent in Afghanistan is sixteen for girls and 18 for boys, Afghanistan remains dangerous for women and girls. Luckily, the government is committed to combating and ending violence against children. The biggest issue they face, however, is enforcing this in such a large country, especially in areas where the Taliban remain in power or where longstanding cultural traditions still permit child marriage to happen without questioning.
Today, some 53% of women aged 25—49 in Afghanistan are estimated to have been married before they were 18.
But this isn’t just a problem in third world countries.
Child Marriage in America
Already we’ve written about child marriage practices in the United States several times this year. Did you know that children as young as twelve years old can get married in America with a judge’s consent? Sure, this may sound far-fetched, but it’s happening much more often than you might hope to think. In fact, legislation against child marriage today aligns us more closely with countries like Niger than with more advanced nations.
Thankfully, with the help of viral social experiments and more dedicated legislation, it will be harder for illicit child marriages to happen or for the adults behind them to get away unpunished. With any luck, this will mean more cases like this latest one where the child is found and set free again instead of a continuing cycle of oppression and silence.