Australia

Kmart pulls 'offensive' children's wedding costume from shelves

Kmart has apologised for selling the item. Source: Change.org

A petition has called attention to a controversial costume that was sold at Kmart.

Retail giant Kmart has stopped selling a children's wedding costume after an online petition called it "beyond inappropriate and offensive".

The change.org petition claimed the costume was insensitive when, "each year, 12 million children … are sold or married off by their family without their consent".

"Child marriage means child abuse and torture in its worst forms ... Take this child bride costume off your shelves," the petition reads.

A Kmart store in Sydney.
A Kmart store in Sydney.
AAP

Despite only receiving around 200 signatures, Kmart responded on Tuesday by apologising and removing the item from sale.

"Kmart Australia regrets the decision to range the bride costume," a Kmart spokesperson said to 7 News.

"It was not intended to cause offence and we sincerely apologise. We have made the decision to withdraw this product."

Niger has the highest prevalence rate of child marriage.
Niger has the highest prevalence rate of child marriage.
girlsnotbrides.org

According to the NGO Girls Not Brides, "child marriage is a truly global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities".

"One in five girls in the world are said to be married before 18," material from the organisation says.

"Child brides are neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers. They face more risks of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, contracting HIV/AIDS and suffering domestic violence," it says.

"With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are more likely to live in poverty."

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