child marriage

New Bill in Sierra Leone Bans Child Marriage

Sierra Leone has officially prohibited child marriage as President Julius Maada Bio signed a bill to eradicate the practice. The law’s primary goal is safeguarding girls, as about one-third of the country’s population ties the knot before they reach 18, thereby lowering maternal mortality rates linked to pregnancy-related health hazards.

According to the legislation, any man marrying a girl under 18 may receive a sentence of at least 15 years in prison and a fine of approximately $4,000. Parents or individuals involved in such marriage ceremonies may also be subject to fines.

The U.S. Bureau of African Affairs hailed the bill as a significant achievement, given that West and Central Africa record the highest incidence of child marriage globally, with nearly 60 million child brides in the region.

The law is designed to disrupt the cycle of early marriage and establish a model for other African nations to repeal laws permitting child marriage.

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