Syrian girls as young as nine are being forced to marry men double their age to escape war and poverty in their homeland.
Pregnant mother-of-one Marwa, 15, was just 12 years old when she wed her husband, now 23, because her father could no longer afford to look after his large family.
And Rukayya, who is just 14 years old, was given a teddy bear as an engagement gift ahead of her own nuptials. They are just two of a whole generation of Syrian girls living in a makeshift camp in Hawsh el Harimi, which ironically means ‘place of women’, in Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, who have become child brides.
Photographer Laura Aggio Caldon, who is based in Italy, travelled to the village last year to document the girls’ distressing stories.
She said the marriages, caused by Syria’s civil war, are creating a ‘lost generation’, CNN reports. Writing on her website, Ms Caldon said: ‘Early marriages were practiced even before the Syrian crisis, but the impoverishment of families, poor security and the war have facilitated the rise of this phenomenon.
‘Marriages in refugee camps in Lebanon often involve girls of 11 to 13 years, and extreme cases of girls as young as nine years old.
‘Parents often give economic reasons and security to explain what pushes them into marrying off their daughters.’
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