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Hidden Connections

Hidden Connections

by Liz Mermin

It was after floods washed away her family's river-front land in Bangladesh's northern Jamalpur district that Brishti Rafiq's widowed father brought her to live in Dhaka. "We couldn't survive like that. We had no property or anything," she said of her former home.

She was only three or four years old when they came to the city, but her father soon arranged a job for her, as a maid for another family.

As she grew, Brishti hoped to be a doctor. But like many young girls in Bangladesh, she faced a different future: marriage at 13, in a union arranged by her father.

Brishti's friend Razia Akter, a migrant from Polbandha village, also in Jamalpur, is now under pressure to marry too. Her father, Mohammed Azim, has already given away his eldest daughter in marriage, and thinks it is now time for Razia, 14, to wed as well.

"If my daughter is walking down the road talking to a boy and someone sees, they will tell everyone my daughter is seeing him. Then your honour is immediately lost," he said.

The stresses dragging girls into early marriage could deepen if - as expected - worsening extreme weather, sea-level rise and riverbank erosion drive increasing numbers of people into Bangladesh's already packed slums seeking work, experts warn.

This 20 minute documentary tells the stories of Brishti and Razia, revealing hidden connections between climate change and child marriage.

To learn more about climate change and child marriage in Bangladesh visit: http://www.takepart.com/hidden-connections .

"Hidden Connections" is a joint production of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and TakePart.