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(NYT3) CHIKUTU, Malawi -- Nov. 26, 2005 -- AFRICA-CHILD-BRIDES-3 -- Mwaka Simbeye's father married her off at age 11 to repay a $16 loan. Simbeye in Chikutu, Malawi on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005. In remote lands like this -- where boys are valued far more than girls, older men prize young wives, fathers covet dowries and mothers are powerless to intervene -- many African girls must leap straight from childhood to marriage at a word from their fathers. The consequences of forced marriages for children and early teenagers are staggering: adolescence and schooling cut short; early pregnancies and births ridden with danger; adulthood often condemned to subservience; and exposure to HIV at an age when girls cannot even understand the risks of AIDS. (Vanessa Vick/The New York Times)

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