2012 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, Stories, 1st prize

Child Brides

Photographer

Stephanie Sinclair

VII Photo Agency for <em>National Geographic</em> magazine

10 June, 2011

Every year, all over the world, millions of girls below the age of 18 undergo marriages initiated by their families. The tradition of child marriage spans continents, religion, and class.

About

Stephanie Sinclair

After university, Sinclair worked for the Chicago Tribune, which sent her to cover the lead up to the war in Iraq. She later moved to the Middle East covering the region for six ...

Background story

Hajjah, Yemen

Tahani (in pink), who was married at the age of six, and her former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, stand with their husbands outside their home in Hajjah, Yemen. At first, Tahani hid whenever she saw her husband, who was 25 when they married.

Every year, all over the world, millions of girls below the age of 18 undergo marriages initiated by their families. The tradition of child marriage spans continents, religion, and class. Girls who marry early often abandon their education. The incidence of maternal and infant death is high for women who give birth under the age of 18. Child marriages often take place in defiance of national laws, and despite education programs about health issues. They are seen as an economic necessity in some regions, or are deeply ingrained in local culture.

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