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Love conquers all? Not for child brides who choose neither sweetheart nor spouse | Ashley Judd
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Hundreds of thousands of young girls across Mexico are being driven into relationships and marriages with older men, denying them a childhood and an education, new research reveals. The data represents part of a wider trend across Latin America, the only region in the world where child marriage is increasing rather than in decline. The report comes weeks after the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, issued a statement pledging to tackle child marriage in Latin America.
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L upita is in her 30s and works as a laundry maid in several houses in Mexico City. She can still remember the first time she saw a girl taken from her home village. She was 11 years old.
The report that ISIS is forcing girls as young as 12 to become sex slaves is part of a larger issue. In the world today, an estimated 2 million underage girls work in the sex trade. A new study details the situation in Mexico, where researchers found that one in four sex workers in Tijuana and Juarez say they were forced into the sex trade as minors — under age 18 — and one in eight say they were 15 or younger. The findings of the researchers are as bleak as you'd expect, perhaps even more so. But they did offer a glimmer of hope when they referred me to Alma Tucker, who runs a safe house for underage victims of sex trafficking in Tijuana. To gather information about the number of minors in northern Mexico's sex trade, a team of researchers traveled to Tijuana and Juarez. They visited nightclubs, massage parlors, street corners and public parks — locations where sex work is known to occur — to find female sex workers. Between March and January , the team enlisted more than 1, participants. The survey, says Jay Silverman , a public health specialist at The University of California, San Diego, who led the study, reveals that young girls forced into the sex trade face greater risks than older women. They're repeatedly sold as virgins for a much higher price, too.