And CNN has reported that “The lack of females has resulted in a competitive marriage market for men, particularly in rural areas, and while some women from neighboring developing countries have willingly entered into marriages in China in search of a better quality of life, there have been reports of girls being tricked or trafficked into the country to be sold as brides. Villages along the Vietnamese-Chinese border were particularly targeted by human traffickers, who can sell young girls in China for more than $3,000.”
This incident has highlighted a problem that extends well beyond Asia, and indeed may be a considerable problem here in the United States as well. As the New York Times recently reported, people from many different religious backgrounds have approved of the practice of child brides.
Speaking to the New York Times, Fraidy Ress, a founder of the non profit group Unchained At Last, says “The solution is relatively simple. State legislators should eliminate the archaic legal exceptions that allow children to wed. This is the only way to end child and forced marriage in the United States. Based on my own experience working with forced-marriage victims across the United States, I am sure many of these children had to marry against their will,” she added. “Forced marriage is a widespread but often ignored problem in the United States.”
While it often happens with girls in late adolescence, around 16-17 years of age, there has been documented precedent for courts to grant permission for marriages to occur where the girl may be as young as 13.
What do you think of this practice? In some cultures, the idea of child brides goes back thousands of years. Is it time for a global prohibition against this practice? Share your ideas with us here.