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The story is all over the news – days ago, Rawan, an 8-year-old Yemeni girl was sold by her parents, forced to marry a man five times her age and on her "wedding night", her fragile young body sustained fatal injuries.
Right now, the collective horror of the world is focused on the devastating death of an 8-year-old girl. We've seen thousands of emails, Facebook posts and tweets from our community calling for action. We know that ending Forced Child Marriage everywhere poses big obstacles and yet, this may be one of few fleeting moments when millions of at-risk girls are counting on the support of a global movement of activists. We're not going to let them down.
Forced Child Marriage is a form of modern slavery, and in Yemen there is no law that makes it illegal. It's common for girls as young as 8 to be forced to marry to settle debts. In fact, 50% of girls in Yemen are married before they reach the age of 18.1
The Yemeni Government has the power to bring an end to Forced Child Marriage forever; the first step is to ban the marriage of anyone under the age of 18, protecting children from a life of domestic and sexual slavery. The Yemeni government needs to know that the eyes of the world are watching and expect their swift response. Will you help?
Rawan's story has struck a chord with people everywhere.
As well as depriving girls of their right to a childhood, Forced Child Marriage leaves victims vulnerable to sexual, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of their so-called husbands and extended families.
Now is the time to act. The Walk Free community is over 3.7 million strong and growing rapidly. Our collective voice is powerful – we can urge the government of Yemen to pass crucial legislation protecting children and young girls from the brutalities of forced marriage.
The idea of being sold into a life of domestic and sexual slavery seems unbelievable, and it's sad that only extreme cases like Rawan's gain attention. How amazing would it be if these cases never made the media – not because they were unreported, but because Forced Child Marriage no longer existed?
Thank you in advance for your support. If you have a moment, please forward this email to 3 of your friends so we can become one step closer to building a world free of this form of modern slavery.
Debra, Nick, Mich, Kate, Ryan, Jess, Amy and the Walk Free Team
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