Skip to main content

"Marry Before Your House is Swept Away": Child Marriage in Bangladesh

Sifola, age 13, stands in the home she shares with her husband and in-laws. Her parents took her out of school and arranged her marriage because they were struggling with poverty and wanted to conserve their resources in order to pay for her brothers’ schooling. Her family bribed local officials to forge a birth certificate that showed her age as over 18 in order to marry her off. March 31, 2015.

© 2015 Omi for Human Rights Watch


Afghan refugees in Greece
Twin Threats

How the Politics of Fear and the Crushing of Civil Society Imperil Global Rights


Thirteen-year-old Sifola in the home she shares with her husband and in-laws in Bangladesh. Sifola’s parents, struggling with poverty, took her out of school and arranged for her marriage so that the money saved could pay for her brothers’ schooling. © 20
Ending Child Marriage

Meeting the Global Development Goals’ Promise to Girls

Bhumika Shrestha, a transgender woman in Nepal, holds her citizenship certificate, which listed her as male in 2011. Nepal legally recognized a third gender category beginning in 2007, but it took Shrestha and other activists and transgender citizens unti
Rights in Transition

Making Legal Recognition for Transgender People a Global Priority

The door of a cell at Lusaka Central Prison. Children are routinely incarcerated in Zambia for minor offenses and frequently held together with adults, putting them at increased risk of sexual violence and other abuses. © 2010 João Silva
Children Behind Bars

The Global Overuse of Detention of Children

Child marriage around the world is associated with many harmful consequences. Girls face health dangers associated with early pregnancy, lower educational achievement, a higher incidence of spousal violence, and an increased likelihood of poverty.

Bangladesh illustrates many of the problems countries with high child marriage rates face. It has the fourth-highest rate of child marriage in the world after Niger, the Central African Republic, and Chad. In the period 2005 to 2013, according to UNICEF, 29 percent of girls in Bangladesh married before the age of 15 and 65 percent married before the age of 18.

Globally, girls aged 10-14 are five times more likely to die during child birth than mothers aged 20-24; girls aged 15-19 are still twice as likely to die during delivery than women aged 20-24.