A new bill could close loophole allowing under-18s to marry in England and Wales, as charities warn Covid has exacerbated hidden child marriage
When Payzee Mahmod was married at 16 to a man nearly twice her age she didn’t understand the words spoken during the Islamic ceremony – and nobody thought to translate them for her.
The teenager, who loved fashion and pop music, was preparing to start college. “I had just finished school and the idea of not wearing a uniform was exciting to me,” she remembers. “Instead I found myself trussed up in a wedding dress, with elaborate jewellery, feeling like a sale item at an auction.”