"I was 14 when my mother presented the photograph of the man I was to learn I was promised to when I was eight, and I was the one who said, 'No, I'm not marrying this man."
Young girls forced into marriage is still a reality in many parts of the world, and it doesn't just happen in developing nations. Activists, African first ladies and victims gathered at a conference in Los Angeles to talk about the problem and what can be done to change the practice of child brides.
Millions of girls and young women around the world are married against their will before 18 years old. Jasvinder Sanghera is born in Britain and of Indian descent. Her sisters were taken out of school in England at 15 and married to men they have never met.
"I was 14 when my mother presented the photograph of the man I was to learn I was promised to when I was eight, and I was the one who said, 'No, I'm not marrying this man,'" Sanghera recalled.
Unlike her sisters, Sanghers ran away and was disowned by her parents and siblings.
"I'm seen as the shameful dishonorable daughter who could contaminate their families and their children too," added Sanghera. "Going to school was one thing. Going home and closing your front door it was another world. That was the stronger world of the two."
Sanghera is now educating others about how strong traditional beliefs in the practice of forced marriage is still happening in both first and third world countries.
Read the full article and watch the video on the VOA News website.
In the time it has taken to read this article 18 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 3 seconds