El Salvador legislation would prohibit adults marrying kids

El Salvador's congress has unanimously passed legislation that would outlaw marriage with minors.

A government survey in 2015 found that there were some 22,361 minors between the ages of 12 and 17 who had married or lived in a common-law relationship. Six out of 10 of the minors who were in such a relationship with an adult lived in the country's rural areas.

The legislation passed Thursday awaits the president's signature. It would change law that allows children to marry adults when there is pregnancy.

Zaira Navas is director of the National Council on Childhood and Adolescence. She says the previous law had allowed adults to avoid legal charges for sexual assault through marriage.

The United Nations' children's advocate UNICEF and other supporters applauded the change.