Authorities in Kasungu have condemned the growing tendency among parents to force their daughters into early marriages.
Said Kaunda: “This year alone, about four girls are believed to have been married in this manner, which calls for serious intervention.”
He said poverty is fuelling the malpractice as parents are marrying off their daughters to men returning from South Africa, who are seen to be well off.
Kaunda said police in conjunction with National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust have intensified sensitisation campaigns aimed at withdrawing girls believed to have been forced into marriage or married at a tender age.
Senior Chief Lukwa of Kasungu acknowledged the development and promised to deal with those found infringing the rights of girls.
He said: “As chiefs, we are aware of the issue and we have formulated by-laws to address the various challenges our communities are facing.
The by-laws declare marriage of people below the age of 18 un-lawful and punish any parent or church found to have a hand in such marriages.