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Norway's "First Child Wedding" Is Actually A Viral Campaign To Stop Child Marriage

This is some pretty crafty online marketing.

This is Thea, aged 12.

On Saturday, she's going to marry her 37-year-old fiancé, Geir.

You can read all about her plans on her blog, which apparently became Norway's most read in a single day.

Here's the church where they're getting married. You can "attend" the ceremony on Facebook if you like.

Here she is trying out cakes for the wedding...

...and trying out flowers, and getting her make-up and hair done.

As a result of Thea's story being shared online, people in Norway have apparently called the police and phoned child welfare authorities.

Needless to say...

...

...this isn't really happening. Thea's site actually links through to a campaign by Plan International.

plan-norge.no

It aims to highlight the 39,000 children forced into marriage every day.

We believe that provocation is a powerful tool in order to demonstrate a reality that truly is very provoking. We hope people will mobilise against child marriage by being girl sponsors, so that most of the girls facing Thea's situation every day can escape their brutal fate.

The charity points out on its website that most child marriages happen in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa: "In several countries in West Africa and in Bangladesh, two-thirds of girls are married before age 18."

It goes on to say:

Child marriage lies at the intersection of a broad set of problems facing girls. The practice violates girls' human rights, curtails their education, harms their health, and sharply constrains their futures. Girls who marry early are most often deprived of the opportunity to reach their full potential and rise out of poverty.

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