Considered a Caribbean country, Suriname is actually located in South America. A former Dutch colony, Suriname declared itself an independent republic in 1975 and in 1991 democratically elected its first president. Its population of 493,000 is multiethnic and multicultural; however, 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Legally, women in Suriname have equal access to education, employment, and property, yet traditional social customs often prevent women from taking full advantage of their rights. Sex trafficking is a significant problem for Suriname, which further compromises women's rights and status.

With its many ethnicities and cultural influences, some Suriname cultures are matrifocal, while others are patriarchal. In some areas, custom has families marrying off their daughters at age 15, which prevents the girl from finishing ...

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