“The Girl Store” Campaign Sheds Light On India’s Child Marriage Problem

Today in India is a celebration called Akshaya Tritiya, a Hindu and Jain holy day which is marked by mass marriages. But human rights supporters in India, such as UNICEF, are using the day to draw attention to a less jubilant topic: child brides. Child marriage is officially illegal in India, but that hasn’t stopped too many families from marrying off their young daughters ages 5 to 12 to older “grooms” — which is another way of saying sex slavery. Today, the Wall Street Journal points out one of the more controversial of the anti-child marriage campaigns, called The Girl Store, a website set up to look like an online retailer that advertises “100 percent genuine girls. Young. Innocent. And available. Experience the sensation of buying a girl.”

But instead of actually purchasing a girl, users can purchase school supplies, like uniforms and backpacks, for girls at risk for sex slavery. Controversial as it may be, The Girl Store’s founders say over 1,000 people have contributed to the education of 450 girls.

You can learn more about UNICEF’s campaign against child brides, and hear more from a child bride herself, here and here.

[Wall Street Journal]
[The Girl Store]
[UNICEF India: Child Protection]
[Wikipedia: Akshaya Tritiya]

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Image via Getty