shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate Group-35 star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love

Dominican Republic President Approves Bill to End Child Marriage

January 6, 2021 was a historic day in the Dominican Republic’s fight to protect children from violence. President Abinader approved a bill that eliminates all legal grounds for child marriage and safeguards the fundamental rights of children, particularly girls who had been vulnerable to this prevalent practice.

The Dominican Republic has the highest rates of child marriage in the Latin America and Caribbean Region. “This harmful practice results in a lack of protection, inequality, lack of opportunities, and early pregnancy for girls. It also has a direct impact on the country's economy,” explained Sonia Hernandez, Associate Director of Public Justice System Strengthening for IJM. Global experts agree it can also increase children’s vulnerability to sex trafficking.

By issuing Law 1-21, the Executive Branch modified the Civil Code and other laws, clearly stating that “people under 18 years old will not be able to marry under any circumstances.[1]” Prior to these changes, the law permitted children to be forced into marriage as long as there was parental consent and permission from a judge.

In addition to these changes, the president issued a new decree establishing a special cabinet, led by the Ministry for Women, to work toward a life free of violence for women and girls. According to a presidential press release, by eliminating child marriage “the Dominican State fulfills its commitments with other States and international organizations that consider this practice a form of torture, abuse and a violent mechanism against children’s rights.”

Ending harmful practices like child marriage by 2030 is part of target 5.3 from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals—and made all the more urgent in the pandemic.

U.N. experts warned that COVID-19 could lead to 13 million more children forced into marriage over the next decade. As the Dominican Republic is hit by a second wave of COVID-19, the enforcement of the new legislation will be key to protect thousands across the country.

Since 2014, IJM has collaborated with authorities in the Dominican Republic to reduce the prevalence of sex trafficking of children. IJM continues to advocate for the Dominican Constitutional Court to declare child marriage unconstitutional. “Through this law, a new stage begins in the country. Our girls and adolescents will be protected…and cannot be forced into marriage in their childhood or adolescence," said Sonia. IJM remains committed to collaborating with the public justice system and civil society groups to ensure children are protected and safe.

$

Want to give in honor of someone you love? Once you make your donation, send them a personalized eCard!

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Billing Information

Your donation:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Card Information

Your donation:

You are giving a one-time gift.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Thank You!

Your receipt has been sent to your email.

How was the experience for you? Tell us here.
Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or at 703-465-5495

Donors in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, or the United Kingdom: by making a donation you agree that we may transfer your personal information to our IJM advancement offices in your country. That advancement office may contact you about future donations or for other fundraising purposes.

Login

Donor Portal

Review your giving, tax statements and contact info via the IJM Donor Portal.

please sign in
IJM Community

Your digital hub for the movement to end modern slavery. Get exclusive updates, connect with others, and find ways to go deeper with IJM.

Please Sign In