There are an estimated 85,000 people living in modern slavery in Yemen (GSI 2018). Young girls are subjected to child forced marriage, with UNICEF estimating 32% of girls being married before the age of 18. There is currently no legal age of marriage in Yemen and poverty, the practice of dowry and strict social and religious customs are drivers of child marriage in the country. With the onset of conflict within the country, estimates suggest that child marriage is on the rise.
Kawkab had her education cut short when she was forced to marry at the age of sixteen.
I used to like school, especially English. I wanted to teach English, but my family made me enter the house and the kitchen.
I didn’t want to get married…but the decision was stringent… my father and father-in-law went to court, and my father came back to the house and told me “You’re married”. I was surprised, I knew that I would be married one day, but I didn’t know that this would be the day.
Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch in their report “How Come You Allow Little Girls to Get Married?”: Child Marriage in Yemen