Two Minor Girls Rescued from Forced Marriage

Murshidabad, West Bengal, India

Two young girls began a new life of freedom this new year. This past December, Justice Ventures International (JVI), in collaboration with local partners and government officials, rescued two girls from situations of forced child marriage. The legal age for marriage in India is 18 for women according to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) of 2006.  Unfortunately, in certain areas of India, child marriage is widely practiced.

rescued girls

Raina*, 14 years old, moved to Mumbai, from West Bengal, with her family in search of better job opportunities. She was asked to quit school in the 6th grade to find work to help her family. JVI and its partners received notice that some of her relatives had arranged a marriage for Raina with an adult in Mumbai.   The police were alerted and after a short investigation, prevented the relatives from forcing the young girl into marriage.  Raina was rescued and is home in West Bengal, while our social enterprise partner, Freeset, is working to find jobs for the family with sustainable income that will provide a future to Raina and her sisters.

Jaya*, 12 years old, lived in rural West Bengal with relatives but apart from her mother.  One day, without her knowledge or the knowledge of her mother,  she was forcibly married to a 30-year-old man. Her mother approached JVI and our partners who initiated a rescue operation.   A JVI lawyer secured an annulment, declaring the marriage null and void, returning Jaya to her home and reuniting her with her mother.

JVI partners will work with Raina and Jaya to ensure they are enrolled in school and find local support for their parents to take care of the girls.  JVI will continue to fight against forced child marriage and help ensure girls like Raina and Jaya experience the childhood they deserve.

* Names changed to protect the identity of the victims.

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