Sierra Leone’s Parliament Bans Child Marriage In New Legislation

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Sierra Leone’s parliament has approved a new law banning child marriage in the country.

The ban by the parliament has been lauded by activists which they said was a major win for children’s rights.

The new law criminalizes marrying girls under 18 years of age and also prescribes jail terms of up to 15 years for offenders.

According to UNICEF, one-third of all girls are married before their 18th birthday in the West African country.

It added that the country is home to 800,000 child brides, 400,000 of whom were married before age 15.

Often due to poverty, many girls in Sierra Leone fail to stay in school. They are then married off by their families in a bid to improve their financial situations or to pay off debt.