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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.

Sultana was forced to marry at 16 years old in 2009 and was pregnant less than a year later.

I finished seventh grade, and left [school] because of marriage....I didn’t want to get married, but my father forced me to. He told me that education won’t do anything for me. He said ‘get married and live in splendor’....I didn’t know my husband beforehand. My father told me that I have to agree [to get married]... I had no choice.

My brother and sister told me some things about the wedding night, but not everything

I miscarried once when I was two months pregnant, then I got pregnant again after four months, and I miscarried when I was five months. This is my third pregnancy... A woman here is only for reproduction.


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