- Noor, who is about 16, at a beauty salon on her wedding day in the Zaatari camp.
- Bara’ah, 17, a Syrian refugee from Ghouta who is six months pregnant, in the room where she and her husband live in Zarqa, Jordan.
- Rahaf Yousef, 13, a Syrian refugee, at home on the day of her engagement party in the Zaatari camp.
- Hana Mohammed, 16, whose seizures began during pregnancy, in the Zaatari camp.
- Yasmeen Ritaj, 16, who left her abusive husband, and returned to the Zaatari camp with her daughter, 10 km east of Mafraq, Jordan, Aug. 27, 2014. For many Syrian families in Jordan’s refugee camps, marrying girls off at younger ages is seen as necessary, but women’s advocates say that they are trading immediate dangers for longer-term ones.
The civil war in Syria is nearing the five-year mark, and as it does, one photojournalist is speaking out about a blight not as abjectly violent as the terror ISIS has brought to the region, but just as insidious. As people are fleeing the war-torn region, many mothers and fathers are marrying off their teenage daughter in the hopes that it will somehow protect them. Laura Aggio Caldon spent several months in Lebanon last year and got to know several young girls there and documented their plights. It’s not a totally new phenomenon. Our own Zainab Salbi spoke with an Iraqi mother last year who married off her 15-year-old and 16-year-old daughters. And in 2014, photojournalist Lynsey Addario shot a series of images depicting teenage girls, daughters of Syrian refugees, pushed into early marriages for The New York Times. Addario will be a panelist at our Women in the World New York Summit coming up in April.
The effects on the girls are decidedly grim. Caldon talked about one of the girls featured in her gripping photo series. Her name is Marwa, she lives in Lebanon now and is pregnant with her second child. Marwa, Caldon said, spends her days raising her 1-year-old son and reading the Koran. She’s just 15, but Caldon speaks about her as an adult who grew up too fast. “Marwa was a woman who had lost her childhood,” Caldon observes, warning that there will be a whole “lost generation” of women like Marwa whose lives and innocence effectively ended when they became child brides.
Read the full story and see all of Caldon’s photos at CNN.