News

Child Marriages Form 15% of All Marriages in Egypt

Child Marriages Form 15% of All Marriages in Egypt

Credit: AA
Credit: AA

Fifteen percent of all marriages in Egypt are child marriages, announced Egypt’s Minister of Population Hala Youssef on Thursday.

Despite Egypt changing the legal age of marriage to 18 in 2008, child marriage continues across the country and particularly in underprivileged areas, said Youssef.

According to a study published by the National Council for Women in 2013, 22 percent of girls are married before the age of eighteen.

Following the new revelations, Egypt’s Population Minister announced that the government, in cooperation with the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), would commence a new study that would determine the scale of child marriages in Giza, Assuit, Sohag and Sharqia.

Minister Youssef said that this move would allow the state to effectively tackle child marriages, particularly since child marriages impede women’s and children’s rights.

Abuse

According to a 2001 study, 29 percent of married children have been beaten by their husbands (or others) and of these children, 41 percent have been beaten during pregnancy. A more recent study in 2014 by the American University in Cairo’s Social Research Center, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, found that 27 percent of women married before the age of 18 had been physically abused by their husbands.

Girls in Egypt can be as young as 11 when they get married.
Girls in Egypt can be as young as 11 when they get married.

Moreover, early marriage is detrimental to a child’s education. According to Plan, “exposing young girls to marriage has a very negative impact on their physical and psychological health. It reduces their chances to complete an education and negatively impacts their ability to participate at the economic and social levels.”

In studies, UNICEF agrees, finding that “healthy, educated and empowered women are more likely to have healthy, educated and confident children.”

‘Sold’ for sex

Egyptian girls are often married off temporarily in exchange for a sum that is often arranged by the parents and the temporary husband.

According to the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, individuals from the Gulf “purchase Egyptian women and girls for ‘temporary’ or ‘summer’ marriages for the purpose of prostitution or forced labor; these arrangements are often facilitated by the victims’ parents and marriage brokers, who profit from the transaction.”

One of the common ways to ‘sell girls’ for temporary marriages is through ‘marriage brokers’. Marriage brokers take girls as young as 11 from underprivileged Egyptian villages to wealthy Arab visitors. A one day ‘pleasure marriage’ can be arranged for as little as EGP 800 ($US 100). The sum is then split between the child’s parents and the marriage broker.

Summer marriages, however, have become more common and can be arranged for costs ranging from EGP 20,000 ($US 2,500) to EGP 70,000 ($US 9,000).

In a 2013 statement, Egypt’s Child Anti-Trafficking Unit at the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood condemned child marriages as prostitution. According to Al-Arabiya, the Director of the Unit said that some girls had been married 60 times by the time they turn 18.

US "Committed to Security and Prosperity of the Egyptian People"
Unrecovered and Unremembered: Gaza One Year After “Operation Protective Edge”

Subscribe to our newsletter


News

More in News

Egypt Qualifies for Handball Semifinals at 2020 Tokyo Olympics after Defeating Germany

Nadine Khaled3 August 2021

Why Egypt is Moving to Plastic Money

Marina Makary2 August 2021

How to Get a COVID-19 ‘QR Code’ Vaccination Certificate in Egypt

Nadine Khaled1 August 2021

Egypt’s Misses Out on Football Tokyo 2020 Semifinals after Brazil Defeat

Nadine Khaled31 July 2021

Egypt Secures Tokyo 2020 Handball Quarterfinals Spot After Dominant Victory Over Sweden

Egyptian Streets30 July 2021

Egypt Qualifies for Tokyo 2020 Quarterfinals After Defeating Australia 2-0

Egyptian Streets28 July 2021

Amazon to Launch ‘Amazon.eg’ in Egypt in 2021

Egyptian Streets27 July 2021

Clashes Erupt After Tunisia’s President Sacks Prime Minister Following COVID-19 Protests

Egyptian Streets26 July 2021