Michael Cardinal, FISM News
Luis Abinader, the president of the Dominican Republic, approved a bill that would end child marriage earlier this month in the Caribbean country. This news comes as a huge win in the global fight against child trafficking.
Before this new bill that made child marriage unconstitutional, the Dominican Republic had the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America. The new civil code states “people under the age of 18 years old will not be able to marry under any circumstance.” Prior to this law, all that was necessary for children to be forced into marriage was parental consent and permission from a judge.
The International Justice Mission, an organization that fights against human trafficking and for human rights, was involved with authorities in the Dominican Republic to bring about these changes. Sonia Hernandez, Associate Director of Public Justice System Strengthening for IJM DR explained,
“This harmful practice results in a lack of protection, inequality, lack of opportunities, and early pregnancy for girls. It also has a direct impact on the country’s economy.”
Child marriage has long been a guise for human trafficking across the globe, with young girls being forced into relationships with older men. The continued efforts of IJM and other organizations like them are cracking down on this horrendous global problem.