16 underage girls rescued from forced marriages in Ghana

16 underage girls rescued from forced marriages in Ghana

A student from Accra has helped free 16 underage girls who were married off by their parents in the Tatale- Sanguli district of the Northern Region.

The victims, all children below the legal marriage age, were rescued from their nightmarish situation over a period of three (3) months according to a report by StarrFMOnline.

16 underage girls rescued from forced marriages in Ghana

The rescue was led by Simon Kweilla, whose efforts helped freed the girls aged between 9 and 16.

It is common practice in some communities that, underage children are forced by their parents to marry fully grown and matured men. These forced marriages ensure that the parents of the child bride receives favors from the husbands, either in kind or cash.

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According to the StarrFMOnline.com report, most of the underage girls were "were heavily pregnant or had babies strapped to their backs" and revealed that they were "not interested in the marriage but they were forced by their parents".

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These child brides are subsequently maltreated by their husbands and some even only get to meet their husbands on the day of their marriage.

16 underage girls rescued from forced marriages in Ghana

In February 2016, Ghana launched an African Union campaign to end child marriage.

- According to UNICEF, 21% of girls in Ghana are married before their 18th.

- However, child marriage rates vary greatly between regions and can be as high as 39% in the northern part of the country, but only 12% in Greater Accra.

- The legal age of marriage is 18 for both boys and girls. However, they can marry as young as 16 with the consent of their parents.

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