No one really knows for sure how many underage girls are getting married in the country of Georgia.
The United Nations Population Fund has records showing that at least 17 percent of girls in Georgia are married before they’re 18 years old—the nation’s legal age for marriage. But what makes it hard to track is that families sometimes circumvent the law, by holding off on registering the marriage for several years. They hold weddings in rural mosques or churches and consider the couple culturally and religiously married.
Photojournalist Daro Sulakauri grew up in Georgia and remembers one of her classmates getting married when they were both only 12. “I had this disturbed feeling in a way,” she remembers. “I felt like something was wrong. But I didn’t understand what it was.”