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The Marriage Breakers of Bangladesh

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 24 May 2012

In Bangladesh, 20% of girls are married before their 15th birthday.

Jemy is likely to be one of them.

She is 13 years old and about to marry a cousin.

Meanwhile, 12 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 12.

This week's Assignment 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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