Prize for Stephanie Sinclair
He’s forty, she’s
eleven. And they are a couple – the Afghan
man Mohammed F.* and the child Ghulam H.*. “We
needed the money”, Ghulam’s parents
said. Faiz claims he is going to send her to school.
But the women of Damarda village in Afghanistan’s
Ghor province know better: “Our men don’t
want educated women.” They predict that
Ghulam will be married within a few weeks after
her engagement in 2006, so as to bear children
During her stay in Afghanistan,
it consistently struck American photographer Stephanie
Sinclair how many young girls are married to much
older men. She decided to raise awareness about
this topic with her pictures. Particularly as
the official minimum age for brides in Afghanistan
is sixteen and it is therefore illegal to marry
Early marriages are not only
a problem in Afghanistan: worldwide there are
about 51 million girls aged between 15 and 19
years who are forced into marriage. The youngest
brides live in the Indian state of Rajasthan,
where 15% of all wives are not even 10 years old
when they are married. Child marriages are a reaction
to extreme poverty and mainly take place in Asian
and African regions where poor families see their
daughters as a burden and as second-class citizens.
Already in their younger years, girls are given
into the “care” of a husband, a tradition
that often leads to exploitation. Many girls become
victims of domestic violence. In an Egyptian survey,
about one-third of the interviewed child brides
stated that they were beaten by their husbands.
The young brides are under pressure to prove their
fertility as soon as possible. But the risk for
girls between the ages of 10 and 14 not to survive
pregnancy is five times higher than for adult
women. Every year, about 150,000 pregnant teenagers
die due to complications – in particular
due to a lack of medical care, let alone sex education.
For her project, Stephanie
Sinclair also traveled to Nepal and Ethiopia.
She wants to do research on the topic of child
marriage in other regions as well and then publish
a book on the issue.
Sinclair, USA, Freeleance Photographer
Flere bilder fra UNICEFs kåring her.