At 13, far too young to know about childbirth, or how to take care of a baby, Doreen went into a terrifying and painful labour, which resulted in an emergency Caesarean section. When Amin was 13, she skipped her 8th grade year to go to Pakistan with her parents. She said yes. Child marriage – marriage before the age of 18 – is a human rights violation. If Swegman is lucky, she is able to get through all of this before she hears someone yell in the background that cell phones aren't allowed in the hallway. "I would yell at her non-stop," admits Anna. He had already agreed to marry her off. Amin had known White for years — from the age of 10, she was put into the CPS system and lived in foster homes on multiple occasions. She was still pregnant when her second husband also died and Gloria, still only a child herself, was left alone to give birth. She was just 7 years old when her mother died and, not long after, her father was killed. Child marriage – marriage before the age of 18 – is a human rights violation. Child marriage – a formal or informal union before age 18 – is a violation of children’s human rights.It’s a form of gender-based violence that robs children of childhood, disrupts their education and drives vulnerability to violence, discrimination and abuse.. Yet these are some of today’s tragic child marriage statistics: Eleven-year-old Celia has been lobbying against child marriage with Plan International Honduras. “I was hurt when I discovered I was pregnant. "He conditioned me to think that I wasn't capable to care for my daughter — that I was an ex-mental health patient and other things that he held over my head," she says. Tim started flirting with Anna in small, inconspicuous ways. "Over there [in Pakistan], they have pesticide pills. “She used to tell me to take care of kids who were in school and that next year I will also start school.

Mary is now looking forward to getting support from Camfed and its CAMA alumnae (CAMA members) to get the skills she needs to start a business and educate her son. "I didn't even have to sign anything.". At present, a total of 15 million child marriages take place each year (both boys and girls). "If did then I would lose her forever," she says.

Today, Pamela is pursuing her studies, but is no longer in contact with her father, who threatened to kill her if she ever returned.

Child marriage can lead to a lifetime of suffering. She didn’t want to get married because she was so young, but, when a man approached the family seeking to marry Mary, she accepted because her older sibling couldn’t look after all the children. "We firmly believe the activities promoted by Let Them Marry breaches our Safe from Harm guidelines put in place to protect children," says Major Joseph Wheeler, Wichita City Commander for the Salvation Army. "He told my husband that basically, in America, if you don't go to school they report you to Child Protective Services," she says. Since 2000, we helped achieve a 25% decline in child marriage worldwide – that’s 11 million more girls empowered to stay in school or transition to work and decide for themselves when they’re ready for marriage and motherhood.

This not only violates her rights, but risks her life, the lives of her children and the future of her community. All three women are working in various ways to end child marriage in the U.S. Gloria’s parents would spend every day on the river, hoping to catch enough fish to sell so that they could afford to send their children to school and buy food for them. She was a patient in the adolescent girls' unit. But, while awareness around the problem of child marriage is growing, for many people the question is still how is it happening. During the cab ride to the airport, Amin's husband was feeling up her chest. With support from Camfed, and the encouragement of the young women alumnae in its CAMA network, Gloria is now returning to school and hopeful that she can achieve her goal of becoming a doctor.Image: Camfed/Eliza Powell.

April was barely 15 and all alone; her parents had abandoned her. In Virginia, nearly 4,500 people under the age of 18 were married between 2004 and 2013. For millions of young girls and boys around the world, however, marriage is not a choice. "For every one of those phone calls, I can only imagine how many girls don't even have that one friend whose cell phone they can borrow.". “When I was pregnant I felt so much pain because I wasn’t ready to conceive at that age,” she said. “If my child could get an education, his life would be different from mine,” she said. As soon as she walked through the security doors, Amin says she felt relieved, and her body was coming down from such shock that she developed a fever on the plane. Although marrying young has been common at different points in history, it can have devastating lifelong effects.

Most Americans know that it's illegal to get married in the U.S. if you're under the age of 18. By the time Anna was about to be discharged from the facility, the notes would say things like, "What is it going to take for me to be able to let you go?" We are fighting to put an end to laws that discriminate against women and girls around the world, through our #LevelTheLaw campaign.

Child marriage – a formal or informal union before age 18 – is a violation of children’s human rights. Finally, in March 2005, Amin received a call from her father. "Men should treat women with respect and women should make sure they select the man they love.". When Amin is asked to describe what being married as a child was like, she boils it down neatly: "Imagine an ex-boyfriend that you really, really hate. Freshta's cosmetics at her husband's house. Often, the State Department faces legal and practical limitations to their ability to help an American who is legally married in another country. Plan International Norway created a blog by 12-year-old Thea, who revealed she was marrying a 37-year-old man named Geir and the story soon went viral. Like most young girls, the attention was exciting, until she remembered that she was technically already spoken for.

Young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s, and their children are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life. She is determined to send her children to school, so she will never be forced to make the same terrible decisions as her mother. So, about four months after her 16th birthday, when she asked her mother if she and Tim could get married.

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