Yemen's Rise in Child Soldiers and Forced Marriage -

Yemen’s Rise in Child Soldiers and Forced Marriage

  • Published on
    October 9, 2017
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Anti-Slavery Activists, Child Slavery, Forced Labor, Forced Marriage, Human Trafficking, Law & Policy, Prevention, Slavery In conflict, Survivor Stories
Hero Banner

After two years of war in Yemen, the country is seeing two disturbing new trends. Families, desperate for income, are selling their daughters off to be child brides and allowing their sons to be recruited as child soldiers. The New York Times quotes Meritxell Relano, the United Nations Children’s Fund representative in Yemen:

“It is impossible to say how many kids are being pulled out of school now to be married off or sent to fight, but we know that more and more parents are doing this. The lack of livelihood and unemployment is forcing them to do this.”

One young girl named Mohsina recalled how her husband locked her in a windowless room. During the month she was with her husband, he beat and raped her every night, leaving her bleeding and unable to stand. “He was mean to me, because I didn’t want to touch him,” she said. She was only 14. He was 35.

In Yemen there is no minimum legal age for marriage and marital rape is not a crime.

Mohsina’s family was paid $1,300 in dowry money for agreeing to the marriage of their young daughter. That was enough to put food on the table for a year.

The war has also damaged boys’ childhoods. Struggling families have sent their underage sons to fight on the front lines to earn about $55 every three months — enough money to support a family of five for two weeks. The United Nations has found around 1,800 child soldiers in Yemen, but the actual number is assumed to be higher.

One father explained that his son “Thinks there is no alternative. He also knew I had no money, and he wanted to help. These officers tell the boys that they can’t claim to be men or Yemenis without joining the fight. It’s a cruel thing to do to a child. They don’t understand the risks they are taking, and they feel like they will be worthless if they don’t go with their friends to fight.”

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

E.U. market will be tainted with forced labor without strong legislation

A report published on December 6 commissioned by a group of E.U. lawmakers warns that “a substantial volume of apparel tainted by Uyghur forced labor is moving into the E.U. without restriction.” The report indicates how E.U. policy does not do enough to weed out forced labor from large supply chains and, therefore, does not protect consumers from buying products made with Uyghur forced labor, according to The Guardian. Implication by state-sponsored

| Wednesday December 6, 2023

Read more