Sierra Leone Parliament Approves Landmark Law Banning Child Marriage

In a significant move to protect children’s rights, Sierra Leone’s parliament has passed a law prohibiting child marriage, a development hailed by activists as a major victory. The new legislation criminalizes the marriage of girls under 18, with offenders facing jail terms of up to 15 years.

According to UNICEF, one-third of all girls in Sierra Leone are married before their 18th birthday, and the country is home to approximately 800,000 child brides, including 400,000 who were married before the age of 15. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for such legislative action.

Child marriage in Sierra Leone is often driven by poverty, which prevents many girls from remaining in school. Families, seeking to improve their financial situations or to settle debts, frequently marry off their daughters at a young age.

The new law represents a crucial step forward in addressing these issues and safeguarding the future of countless young girls across the country.

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