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Girls & Women

This Collection of Maternity Wear for 12-Year-Olds is the Fashion Line the World Shouldn’t Need

Plan International

Frills, pastel colours, and prints of kittens. This new range of children’s clothes would be at home on the shelves of any department store. 

Which is what makes the 12-year-old model’s pregnancy so shocking. 

The point of this new ad campaign, launched by Plan International Finland, is to highlight the very real problem of childhood pregnancy in developing countries.

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READ MORE: 5 Countries With Highest Numbers of Child Marriage

Maternity for 12-year-olds_Plan_international_1Image: Plan International

“Designing a maternity wear collection for young children is unnatural and disturbing, which is exactly the point we want to make,” said campaign creator Hasan & Partners’ senior creative Anu Niemonen, in a press release. 

“The clothes expose a shocking truth about the 7 million children who become pregnant every year. This is a collection that shouldn’t exist or even be needed in the first place.”

Every year, more than 7 million girls living in developing countries become mothers under the age of 18 — 2 million of them are under the age of 15. 

Maternity for 12-year-olds_Plan_international_2Image: Plan International

The girl featured in the campaign is one of these girls. Her name is Fridah, from Zambia, and she became pregnant at the age of 12. Her baby is due next month.

The collection, which is entitled “Hamptons,” was put together by Finnish fashion designer Paola Suhonen and appears in print ads and videos. 

It will also be displayed in shop windows in Helsinki’s fashion centre, although not for sale, in an effort to wake people up to the vulnerability of these young girls. 

Maternity for 12-year-olds_Plan_international_3Image: Plan International

“Children get pregnant because of child marriage, violence, or because they don’t have enough knowledge or services for sexual and reproductive health,” says Plan on its website

“Becoming pregnant is often very shameful for the girls. Unsafe abortions, that are often also illegal, cause health problems and deaths, Plan adds. “Conflicts and disasters increase the risk of getting pregnant, because the unsafe circumstances increase the amount of child marriages, violence and rapes.”

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Most children and teenagers who get pregnant have been married as children. They either have a baby because they got married, or they are forced into marriage because they became pregnant. 

Maternity for 12-year-olds_Plan_international_4Image: Plan International

But they rarely have the chance to make decisions about their own bodies. 

Every year, an estimated 15 million girls get married under the age of 18 — and some of these girls are younger than 10. 

Plan added: “Child marriages and forced marriages are human rights violations. They are not questions about culture, and neither are other harmful religious, cultural or social traditions.”