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2010 (Narrative date)

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.

Su’ad was forced to marry when she was 14.

I only finished second grade. I didn’t like school and quit, so my mother told me to sit in the kitchen. My uncle asked me if I want to marry this person and I said ‘yes,’ but I didn’t know what marriage was. I met my husband for the first time on our wedding night.

I was young and went to a big house. I didn’t know how to cook or do anything. They [husband’s family] would yell at me.... One day my sister-in-law hit me because I was yelling at her children to get up.


Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch in their report “How Come You Allow Little Girls to Get Married?”: Child Marriage in Yemen