Child marriage in Morocco is still prevalent, with over 100,000 minors reported to have been married off as of 2014. But, recently police in the northern city of Tetouan intervened to stop one such incident from happening.
Police in the northern Moroccan city of Tetouan attempted to stop a 13-year-old girl from forming a union with a man 17 years her senior, according to Morocco World News.
The ceremony, which the family revealed was an engagement, not a wedding, was taking place in a room in the downtown area of the city.
Upon questioning, the girl's family said that the girl was not "being forced" into the union, emphasizing that it was "her decision."
The ceremony reportedly continued after police left, according to Morocco World News.
Photos of the ceremony began making the rounds on social media, drawing criticism and backlash soon after.
"When daughters are seen like 'crops' that need to be 'sold' and 'consumed' before they become corrupt."
Some called for the imprisonment of the girl's parents
"This practice must [end] immediately"
Child marriage in Morocco still an ongoing thing
Previously, girls as young as 15 were allowed to marry.
Under Moroccan law, child sex abuse is treated as a crime.
Penal code article 467 prohibits forced child labor, and articles 467 to 499 prohibit forced prostitution and the prostitution of minors.
In 2012, Morocco's 'marry the rapist' law was put under the international spotlight after 16-year-old Amina al-Filali committed suicide seven months into being forced to marry the man who raped her in an attempt to save her "family's honor."
In 2014, Morocco's parliament amended Article 475 of the penal code, which previously exonerated the rapist if he married the victim.
Amendments to Article 475 came one year after the country's Islamist-led government proposed the changes.