Forced marriages on the rise in Northern Ghana


    Forced marriage in the Northern Region of Ghana, has since been on the increase despite several attempts by civil society organizations and government to reduce this canker.

    According to a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in 2011, about 27.4 percent of young girls are forced into marriage either by their parents or guardians.

    However, cases in the Tatale-Sangule District are prevalent as a result of the high illiteracy and poverty rates in the area.

    From 2015 to the end of March this year, about 15 victims of forced marriage have been rescued by a native of the area, who has joined the advocacy to end the canker.

    Forced marriage, which is a clear violation of the fundamental human rights of young girls, is culturally accepted in that area. 

    Young girls between the ages of 10-17, are married off by their parents or guardians in return for cash or material gains.

    A student of the school of Social Welfare in Accra, Kuweila Simon, who has since been striving hard to alleviate the plight of these vulnerable young girls, said with the little knowledge acquired from school he will continue to fight for their rights.

    According to him, the girls were sent back to school and have since completed.

    The District Social Welfare Officer, Abayata Moses, said a sensitization exercise is ongoing in the district to educate parents on the consequences of force marriage.

    He expressed worry about the reluctance of residents to volunteer information on the canker. According to him, several cases have been reported to the Domestic Violence and victims support Unit (DOVVSU) to fight the menace.

    A Deputy Commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Joseph Whittal, said the commission is worried about the canker and is working hard to eradicate it.