Visual journalist Stephanie Sinclair traveled to Afghanistan to work on a story about young women who set themselves on fire. She soon discovered the disturbing reality that most of the girls had been forced into marriage at a young age. Over the next ten years, Sinclair traveled the world documenting child marriages. Her organization Too Young To Wed aims to “build a global community dedicated to ending child, early and forced marriage and supporting positive change for these girls”.
The following photos were taken by Stephanie Sinclair during the ten year project.
Warning: Some of these photos may be disturbing to some readers.
Tehani, 8, and Ghada – Yemen
Tehani (in pink) was married to Majed when she was 6 and he was 25. “Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him,” she said. Ghada, the girl in green, was also a child bride.
Destaye, 11 – Ethiopia
Destaye was married to 23-year-old Addisu who is a priest. According to community members, this meant that his bride had to be a virgin. This is why Destaye was given to him at a young age.
Rajani, 5 – India
Rajani was woken in the middle of the night. Her uncle carried her to her wedding. Since child marriage is illegal in India, ceremonies occur in the early morning hours. A local farmer stated that the whole village kept the wedding secret.
Ghulam, 11 – Afghanistan
Ghulam was married to 40-year-old Faiz. Once her father agreed to the marriage, she was immediately taken out of school.
Sarita, 15 – India
Sarita and her 8-year-old sister were married to sibling brothers.
Bibi Aisha, 19 – Afghanistan
When she was 6, Bibi Aisha was promised by her father to a Taliban fighter to compensate for a killing committed by a family member. She was married at 16 and underwent significant abuse. Two years later, she fled but was captured by the police, taken to jail, and then returned to her family. She was taken to the mountains where her nose and ears were cut off.
Leyualem is the girl on the mule with the cloth over her head. She is being transported to her new home on her wedding day. The cloth was placed over her head so that she could not find her way back home if she tried to escape.
Asia, 14 – Yemen
In the photo, Asia is washing her newborn baby. Her 2-year-old daughter is playing at right. Asia is experiencing complications from childbirth, but she does not have access to proper health care.
Mejgon, 16 – Afghanistan
When she was 11-years-old, Mejgon was sold by her father for two boxes of heroin.
China, 18 – Ethiopia
China is a young sex worker. She was beaten up by one of her clients. Many girls who escape child marriages end up being trafficked to violent brothels.
Jamila, 15 – Afghanistan
In the photo, a Kandahar policewoman arrests a man for stabbing his 15-year-old wife and mother of two children. The policewoman stated that nothing would happen to the man because “Men are kings here”. Later, the policewoman was killed by the Taliban.
Nujood, 12 – Yemen
This photo shows Nujood two years after her divorce from her husband who was 20 years older than her. Her story led to a proposed bill in Yemen that would institute a minimum marriage age.
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