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The Marriage Breakers of Bangladesh

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 26 April 2012

In Bangladesh, twenty percent of girls are married before their fifteenth birthday. Jemy is likely to be one of them. She is thirteen years old and due to marry a cousin in three days time.
Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Oli is touring the slums of Dhaka, telling parents not to marry off their daughters.
And in the wards of the Dhaka Medical College lies Poppy, awaiting an operation to repair a body broken by childbirth at the age of twelve.
This week's Crossing Continents looks at the issue of Child Marriage, through the eyes of these three children.
It is a practice still rife in Bangladesh despite being illegal. Some call it modern day slavery. Child brides drop out of school and are rarely able to undertake any paid work. Often they become victims of domestic violence. And many, like Poppy, suffer severe health problems as a result of giving birth at a young age.
They lose their childhood completely.
But campaigners are fighting back, trying to persuade rural villagers not to marry off their daughters so young. Reporter Angus Crawford joins them as they try to track down Jemy and halt her wedding. But can they reach her in time?
Producer: Tony Smith.

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  • Child marriages blight Bangladesh

    Child marriages blight Bangladesh

    In Bangladesh 20% of girls become wives before their 15th birthday, even though 18 is the minimum age allowed by law. Angus Crawford meets a 13-year old would-be bride, a 12-year old damaged by early childbirth, and a 12-year old boy who campaigns against child marriage.

    Read the full article on the BBC News website


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