Violence Against Women Act — The Newest Force Against Child Marriage

March 1, 2013 • Serial Dramas, Radio Serial Dramas, Nigeria, Ethiopia, United States, Daily Email Recap

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was passed in the House of Representatives on 2/28/13 is now headed to the desk of the President of the United States (where he is expected to sign), includes provisions related to child marriage. The language basically creates a new mandate for a multi-sectoral strategy to end child marriage; it is pasted below.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was especially helpful in shepherding through the provision to protect girls in developing countries from forced marriages. Specifically, Durbin succeeded in providing language that requires the implementation of development assistance programs to reduce child marriage in countries where the problem is most prevalent.

“Tens of millions of women and girls around the world have lost their dignity, freedom, and health due to forced child marriage,” Senator Durbin said. “Not only does this despicable practice deny these women and girls an education and economic independence, it is also the root cause of many of the world’s most pressing development issues – HIV/AIDS, child mortality, and abject poverty. Passage of today’s law puts this issue front and center and makes clear that it is the policy of the U.S. government to end child marriage around the globe. These important steps will change the lives of millions in some of the world’s forgotten places.”

You may also be interested in a July 2012 report (http://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/7724.pdf) bySave The Children and the UK’s Overseas Development Institute on adolescent pregnancy – it is an example of how child marriage is being more fully recognized as an important, perhaps even fundamental, factor in the ecosystems of reproductive health and human rights. In the report, child marriage is repeatedly pointed to as a contributing factor to teen pregnancy. The report also shows that young age at first pregnancy is predictive of high lifetime TFRs. The report goes on to designate ending child marriage as one of two “silver bullets” in reducing adolescent pregnancy (along with keeping girls in school). 

Since our founding in 1998, PMC’s Sabido style serial dramas have tackled the child marriage issue in various countries. For more information, please see the following:

Using Entertainment Education to Fight Child Marriage

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-dZOjqE9J_jdGVCUkpJcTFsNFU/edit?usp=sharing 

SEC. 1207. PREVENTION OF CHILD MARRIAGE.

 

(a) In General.–Section 106 of the Trafficking Victims

Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7104) is amended by adding

at the end the following:

“(j) Prevention of Child Trafficking Through Child

Marriage.–The Secretary of State shall establish and

implement a multi-year, multi-sectoral strategy–

“(1) to prevent child marriage;

“(2) to promote the empowerment of girls at risk of child

marriage in developing countries;

“(3) that should address the unique needs,

vulnerabilities, and potential of girls younger than 18 years

of age in developing countries;

“(4) that targets areas in developing countries with high

prevalence of child marriage; and

“(5) that includes diplomatic and programmatic

initiatives.”.

(b) Inclusion of Child Marriage Status in Reports.–The

Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) is

amended–

(1) in section 116 (22 U.S.C. 2151n), by adding at the end

the following:

“(g) Child Marriage Status.–

“(1) In general.–The report required under subsection (d)

shall include, for each country in which child marriage is

prevalent, a description of the status of the practice of

child marriage in such country.

“(2) Defined term.–In this subsection, the term `child

marriage’ means the marriage of a girl or boy who is–

“(A) younger than the minimum age for marriage under the

laws of the country in which such girl or boy is a resident;

or

“(B) younger than 18 years of age, if no such law

exists.”; and

(2) in section 502B (22 U.S.C. 2304), by adding at the end

the following:

“(i) Child Marriage Status.–

“(1) In general.–The report required under subsection (b)

shall include, for each country in which child marriage is

prevalent, a description of the status of the practice of

child marriage in such country.

“(2) Defined term.–In this subsection, the term `child

marriage’ means the marriage of a girl or boy who is–

“(A) younger than the minimum age for marriage under the

laws of the country in which such girl or boy is a resident;

or

“(B) younger than 18 years of age, if no such law

exists.”.


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