We prevented a child marriage
This is one of those cases that gives us special satisfaction to share: the prevention of a child marriage.
A key part of this story is the role played by the youth groups we run with GGBK in West Bengal, the organization we work within the area to combat human trafficking. These groups conscientiously work on the relationship with the territory to have information on dangerous situations in which it is necessary to intervene.
This is how they found out about this case.
A family of six members with four daughters and in a situation of poverty, without a fixed income, faced a lot of anguish and difficulties on a day-to-day basis. They did not have the capacity to cover their basic needs. They also suffered the social and cultural pressure of having to marry off four daughters, with their four dowries. As the dowries increase with the age of the girls, they decided to consider the wedding of the eldest of their daughters at the age of 14.
The first step was to set up a meeting with the girl and the family to have first-hand information. And it was on the first day when the reality check happened, once again extreme poverty was the cause of child marriage. Considering this situation, a series of conversations began to emphasize explaining to the family the importance of an education and dangers of a girl getting married at the age of 14. In addition to that, the group reported in detail all the risks that the girl could run in with an unequal relationship. Violence, forced relationships, exploitation, economic dependence, and the absence of choice and opportunity could be constant in her life. In addition to that they explained that child marriage is a crime.
The parents wanted to avoid this life for her daughter, but how? It was then that the different possibilities for scholarships for studies were explained to them, as well as the government support to finance a marriage in adulthood. It was not easy, but after many conversations and explanations, the family stopped the planned marriage and now their eldest daughter will continue studying, like the rest of her sisters.
She is also now part of the youth group and dedicates her time to a work so that no more girls will suffer the same fate, since unfortunately this case of child marriage linked to poverty is not the only case in her community.