When Sonita Alizadeh was 16 her parents were prepared to sell her to a man for marriage. Now, thanks to bravely using rap to speak out and tell her family how she felt, she's studying on a full scholarship in the United States and working to end child marriage for girls all around the world.
In Afghanistan, where Sonita is originally from, 57% of girls are married before they are 19. And this year alone, 13.5 million girls worldwide under the age of 18 will be forced marry before they have finished school or their bodies have matured. Almost one third of these girls will be under the age of 15.
These girls are being robbed of their childhood and their right to live a life of their own choosing, while they could grow up making significant contributions to the social and economic development of their communities.
To end forced marriage we need to ensure that governments enact and enforce laws against this abusive practice. We must also work at the grassroots level with families, communities, religious leaders and advocates like Sonita to effect change.
Sonita is a true champion of human rights. After liberating herself, she directed her attention to all the other young girls who are unable to break free from child marriage.
Stand with Sonita and sign the petition to make sure world leaders #LeveltheLaw and hear our message: The time to end child marriage is NOW.