Photojournalism: Child Marriage & Sex Trafficking in Bangladesh
"Bangladesh has been named one of the most dangerous countries where girls can grow up in the world. Unicef statistics show the country still has the highest rate of child marriage in Asia. Out of 300 girls here, who were surveyed by Plan International, more than three quarters said they never made decisions about their lives.
Throw the threat of sex trafficking into the mix, and the danger esclates: between 150,000 to 200,000 children and young women across the country are estimated to have been trafficked into prostitution – both within Bangladesh and over the border to India.
Trafficking victims insist both forms of abuse are tightly intertwined. If child marriage could be stopped, they say, fewer girls would be at risk of trafficking too.
In 2017, photojournalist Allison Joyce and I visited four brothels across Bangladesh, including Daulatdia, which is widely believed to be the largest brothel in the world, and Kandipara, which dates back over a hundred years and is thought to be one of the oldest. In an investigation funded by an NGO named Girls Not Brides, I interviewed over 400 women and girls of all ages, religions and backgrounds who were currently enslaved behind the brothels’ walls, including Yasmin.
Half of them told me that they were convinced they would not have been trafficked into prostitution if they had not been married while they were under the age of 18."
-Text by Corinne Redfern
This project was made possible with a grant from Girls Not Brides