A 14-year-old girl was jailed for several hours by community police in a town in the Mexican state of Guerrero (south) after escaping to avoid marrying a minor for money, human rights defenders reported Wednesday.

The youngest, identified as Anayeli "N", had run away to avoid being sold and married to a 16-year-old young man in exchange for about $ 10,000 that would be paid to his family that lives in the indigenous community of Joya Real, in the municipality of Cochoapa el Grande, one of the most poor of Mexico.

Abel Barrera Hernández, director of the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center, explained that the minor was imprisoned for 14 hours after being captured on Monday night by community policemen from Joya Real, with about 600 inhabitants and where the so-called uses and customs prevail.

"Anayeli, for resisting forced marriage, was detained by the community police at the request of the child’s family" with whom they wanted to marry her, detailed a statement from the center.

Another minor who agreed to receive Anayeli at his home after she escaped to avoid getting married was also imprisoned and later released.

The release took place after a dialogue was established between community authorities and lawyers from the Tlachinollan Center, supported by personnel from the state prosecutor’s office, elements of the national guard and the local defender’s office.

Although marriage between minors in Mexico was prohibited by law in 2019, in indigenous communities in Mexico that are governed by uses and customs, these unions continue to occur.

Just last October 9, another 15-year-old girl from the state of Guerrero, identified as Angelica "N", was arrested because she fled because her father-in-law tried to rape her.

This minor was forced to marry a man who lives in the United States in exchange for about $ 6,000.

Guerrero is one of the states where these ancestral practices of marrying minors are still presented in exchange for a payment, which can be the same with money as with animals and even alcoholic beverages.

During a visit to Guerrero last October, the leftist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador rejected requests to intervene in this problem, arguing that it is not generalized.

"The sale of girls, the prostitution of girls (…) is not the rule. In the communities there are many cultural, moral, spiritual values, that may be the exception, but it is not the rule.", said.

According to official figures, some 3,000 girls and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 17 gave birth in Guerrero in 2020, some of them within these arranged marriages.

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