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  Home : White Papers : Child and Mail-order Brides

WHITE PAPER ABSTRACT: Unhappily Ever After:

The plight of child and mail-order brides

In this white paper, Soroptimist International of the Americas, working to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world, examines the issue of child marriage and mail-order brides. These practices rely upon the historical, social and cultural assumptions and beliefs that support marriage as an economic transaction – whereby a woman, or girl, is merely an object for exchange. These practices inflict great harm upon women and girls. Child marriage traps young girls in relationships that deprive them of their childhood and education while putting them at risk for abuse, disease and even death. Mail-order brides, who “consent” to marriage and may view it as the promise of a better and happier future, also face similar fates. Marriage for these women and girls is often nothing less than slavery, their lives revolving around physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. Recommendations for preventing child and mail-order bride marriages include: conducting research on the topic and providing support for the findings; increasing girls’ access to education; creating income-generating job opportunities for women; and challenging gender stereotypes and male demand for child and mail-order brides.

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