Tue, Oct 09, 2018 - Page 7 News List

US wedding profits tapped to fight child marriages

Thomson Reuters Foundation, NEW YORK

Some profits from the multibillion-dollar US wedding industry are to be funneled into the global fight against child marriage, said organizers of a campaign that started yesterday.

The campaign, called VOW, would raise funds in the US to be distributed to community-based efforts around the world, said Princess Mabel van Oranje of the Netherlands, who founded the campaign.

“Couples and companies can help to make sure that, somewhere else in the world, a girl who’s not yet ready to get married can say, ‘I don’t,’” she told reporters.

Each year, 12 million girls are married before they turn 18, according to Girls Not Brides, a global partnership opposing child marriage.

Campaigners say that children married young tend to leave school, have limited economic opportunities, are vulnerable to health problems and abuse, and are more likely to live in poverty than those who marry later.

“Part of the solution is working at the community level,” the Dutch princess said. “You need people who understand what drives it and you need people who understand who holds the power to create change.”

The campaign would fund an array of efforts, including religious leaders helping change perceptions of girls, networks helping them resist pressure to marry young and schooling for those already married as children, Sundaram said.

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