Over 170,000 Ghanaian girls are forced into marriages before 18yrs

A total of 176,103 are annually forced into marriages in the country before they turn 18 years, a UNFPA report has revealed.

Per the report released in July, at least about one in every four girls marry prior to their 18th birthday in most part of the country.

The Nkwnata North and South districts topped the district distribution in the Volta region with 55 and 23 per cent respectively as against the nine per cent recorded by the remaining districts in the country.

Pibila, a farming community near Damanko, is one of the high risk communities in the Nkwanta North district, where most of these teenagers girls are forced into ‘exchange marriages’ between families and in some cases, as payment of debt.

In some cases, girls as young as 10 years, are pushed into early or forced marriages, depriving them of their rights to education and dignity.

The worrying development attracted the attention of research and counseling foundation for African migrants, RECFAM. The project, in partnership with the Canada and Ghana governments, and the Ghana Police Service, aimed at identifying victims, rescue and support them to regain their rights.

The initiative also focused on girls education, public sensitization, as well as intensification of law enforcement. Additionally, new hotlines, 024 240 6544 and 020 019 8548, for reporting such cases have been unveiled to the public.

Director of RECFAM, Alfred Mbinglo, charged parents to be responsible and protect the welfare of their children for posterity.

The Director of CHRAJ for Nkwanta North and South, Clement Kpega, said the commission, World Vision, DOVVSU and Social Welfares in the area have witnessed an overwhelming complaints of child marriages, and called on the chiefs to help reduce the menace.

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 By Peter Adattor|3news.com

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