Mexican Police Detains 14-Yr-Old Girl Fleeing Forced Marriage

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Mexican Police Detains 14-Yr-Old Girl Fleeing Forced Marriage

The Mexican Police detained a 14-year-old indigenous girl after fleeing her community to avoid a forced marriage, human rights defenders said on Wednesday.

The girl, identified as Anayeli “N”, was said to have escaped her poverty-stricken community in Joya Real to avoid being sold and married to a 16-year-old boy in exchange for around $10,000 that would have been paid to her family.

Anayeli was detained in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero for 14 hours after being captured on Monday night, said Abel Barrera Hernandez, director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center.

“Anayeli was detained by the community police for resisting forced marriage at the request of the family of the boy” who she was to marry, the center said in a statement.

Mexico, had in 2019 banned marriage between minors, but indigenous communities are said to have continued to enforce such unions under a tradition that critics said traps women in abuse and leaves the groom’s family mired in poverty, with calls growing for its abolition.

According to records, indigenous people represent around 10 percent of Mexico’s population of 126 million, and almost 70 percent live in poverty without access to basic services.

The situation have fuelled commercialisation of ancestral dowry rituals to raise money, making Guerrero one of the Mexican states where the sale of minors takes place in exchange for money, animals and even alcoholic beverages.

Anayeli was said to have been released after lawyers from the Tlachinollan Center, with the support of Mexican authorities including the state prosecutor’s office, negotiated with community officials.

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