Forced marriage in Burkina Faso – level 3
Forced marriages are illegal in Burkina Faso; however, they remain common, and they often involve girls younger than 18.
According to the World Bank, 40% of people there live below the poverty line, and marrying daughters early lowers the number of people to feed.
Officials say that there were over 650 cases of forced marriage and 2,200 child marriages between 2019 and 2021; however, this may be an undercount, as many arrangements happen secretly.
Some girls have found refuge in a shelter ran by nuns in the city of Kaya, and where they can continue their education. Some arrive after family members beat them, and sometimes parents come to look for their daughters in the shelter.
In such cases, social workers try to convince the family to let the girls stay and pursue their education. One of the nuns said that these practices had to stop as they honored the country’s customs, but they didn’t honor human beings.
Difficult words: poverty line (the minimum amount of money that a person needs for their basic needs like a home and food), undercount (an amount that’s lower than the actual number), pursue (to follow or continue).
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