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Government urged to criminalise child marriage

22nd June 2021

Karma Nirvana, which has protected girls as young as 11 from child marriage, welcomes the government’s recent commitment to raising the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 in England and Wales, but says proposed legislation does not go far enough.

Campaigners argue that a loophole allowing children to marry with parental consent leaves youngsters vulnerable to coercion.

Nattasha Rattu, executive director of Karma Nirvana, says: ‘We are delighted that after relentless campaigning the government has listened to calls to end child marriage by committing to raising the legal age to 18.

‘But while this is a huge step in the right direction, it remains imperative the government also makes child marriage a crime.

‘This would ensure maximum safeguards against all forms of child marriage and sends out the strongest possible message that child marriage is not accepted or tolerated by our government.’

To get involved in Karma Nirvana’s campaign, visit the End Child Marriage campaign page.