Destiny Rescue sees a kaleidoscope of social injustices worldwide, including child marriage and sex trafficking. These two crimes might seem different on the surface, but they’re similar once diving deeper – especially when their lines blur in a child’s story.
Child marriage is typically an illegal marriage or union between a person under 18 and an adult or another child. Sex trafficking, on the other hand, is where someone is sold for sexual services through force, fraud or coercion.
To flesh out the similarities, let’s consider three factors.
1: They share the same root causes.
In developing countries, many girls can fall into child marriages or sex trafficking because of the three root causes: poverty, lack of education, and gender discrimination.
Before a girl winds up in either crisis, they often have a low status in their country. They might be seen as being worth little, second and subservient to men or – since their humanity is held with such small regard – sex objects.
Insufficient education is a strong factor in both crises too. Girls might lack class attendance, quality teachers, access to education – like affording school uniforms, books and pencils – or need to leave school for a job to help support their families.
The girls almost always come from impoverished families, with parents often breaking a sweat in the agricultural sector for a few dollars a day.
As these three issues weigh on their shoulders, girls stand on the precipice of both child marriage and sex trafficking. The sex industry opens its arms to financially struggling girls with little education. Traffickers can also prey on their desperation, offering a false job or marriage.
From the same vantage points, a girl’s parents might send them into a child marriage. Parents might do this to receive a bride price, relieve themselves of the cost to support their child at home or give their daughter a life of financial security from a husband.
2: Victims of sex trafficking and child marriages share similar sufferings.
Whether in a child marriage or the sex industry, girls can experience similar trauma.
In the criminal marriages, child brides can experience mental, sexual and physical abuse, alongside health issues commonly arising from early pregnancies. Premature delivery, miscarriages and even maternal death are among them.
In the sex industry, girls almost inevitably encounter physical and sexual assault, similar to child brides and their husbands. The assaults include insults, beatings and rape. In the wake of these acts, girls can be left with diseases and a host of mental illnesses.
This includes depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide ideation and – one slippery step further – suicide.
3: Support for survivors of each crisis follows the same path.
To explore the optimistic side of the coin, victims of child marriage and the sex industry share a similar road to recovery.
In Uganda, Destiny Rescue and our partner organization recognize survivors of child marriage and sex trafficking need similiar services, like education, counseling, medical care and vocational training.
We also teach survivors about their value – equal to men – and provide tools to achieve financial independence. Going beyond recovery, these girls are transformed into informed advocates against child marriage and the sex industry in their communities in Uganda.
To go full circle, our services help give girls the weapons – like employment, education and dignity – to fight the root causes behind both crises.
Destiny Rescue is forever growing across the world to tackle not only child marriage and sex trafficking but every branch of the overarching crisis, child sexual exploitation and trafficking worldwide.