“I am too young to be a bride” is a common phrase said by too many girls who are only just children. Every day, more children are being forced into a marriage they are much too young for, a marriage they don’t choose.
Imagine yourself in their position—knowing it’s wrong and trying to fight against it, then hearing, “You’re going to stay here and be my wife, whether you like it or not.” Would you continue fighting? Many of these young girls see no need to continue to fight. They have no choice but to give up their freedom.
A child and her “husband” had moved to their new home, and she finally got free movement while her “husband” was at work. She took it as an opportunity to report to the nearest police station and beg to be rescued. The police promised to help her, but nothing was immediately done. She was forced to go back “home” and pretend everything was okay. The police failed her.
She prayed each day for it not to be the day he decided to consummate the marriage. She decided to give it another chance by calling a radio station in desperation, and fortunately, help came immediately. Charges were made against both sets of parents, as well as the middle-aged man who abducted her.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with one girl’s story. Every day, all over the world, children are fighting against being sold for profit. They are people who deserve freedom and live the life they choose, not to be forced into slavery.
The Lesotho Child Protection and Welfare Act of 2011 criminalizes marriage for persons under the age of 18. Sixteen percent of young girls are married before the age of 18, and 1% before the age of 15. Most of these girls are married against their will as a way for their family to gain a lump sum of money from the elderly and often wealthier men. We are proud of these young women for the resilience they have in standing up for themselves against this horrific practice.