The entire system needs to change in order to empower women and young girls
The answer is never child marriage.
No matter what our history or culture might have had to say about it in the past, child marriage, in any shape or form, cannot stand as a solution to any problem that a child might face.
A recent report by published in the Dhaka Tribune has found that child brides remain the easiest target for sexual trafficking, facing unimaginable injustices at a point in their lives when they should be going to school and playing with their peers.
Unfortunately, the law does little to protect them, with the most recent amendment to the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 keeping the ugly flame of child marriage alive, allowing it under “special circumstances.”
As expected, these special circumstances are used in horrifying ways, letting rapists marry their children, and turning Bangladesh into a country where it is the most dangerous for a girl to grow up.
This is an indication not only of how we are continuously failing to protect our children, but also how we as a society continue to see women, shedding them of their agency and valuing them based on their roles as brides, mothers, and home-makers.
For things to change, the authorities need to, first and foremost, remove the “special circumstances” from the law and take the protection of children and women far more seriously than it has been -- currently, there exists no trust between victims and law enforcement.
The entire system needs to change in order to empower women and young girls and ensure that they feel protected against abusers and people pretending to be their protectors.
One more story about a girl who finds herself trapped inside the walls of a brothel would be a story too many.