Saturday, November 06, 2021

Child Brides

 Child marriage robs girls of their childhood and threatens their lives and health.

And girls who marry before 18 have worse economic and health outcomes than their unmarried peers, which are eventually passed down to their own children, further straining a country’s capacity to provide quality health and education services.

Child brides often become pregnant during adolescence, when the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth increases – for themselves and their infants.

The practice can also isolate girls from family and friends and exclude them from participating in their communities, taking a heavy toll on their physical and psychological well-being, 

The following facts and figures, which have been compiled by the two main world specialised bodies -UNICEF and UN Population Fund (UNFPA), should suffice to unveil such a flagrant human rights violation.

— Child marriage refers to any formal marriage or informal union between a child under the age of 18 and an adult or another child.

While the prevalence of child marriage has decreased worldwide – from one in four girls married a decade ago to approximately one in five today – the practice remains widespread.

— Child marriage can lead to a lifetime of suffering. Girls who marry before they turn 18 are less likely to remain in school and more likely to experience domestic violence.

— Young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s, and their children are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life.

— Infants born to teenage mothers are also more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life.

— Wherever they occur, harmful practices rob girls of their childhood, deny them the chance to determine their own future and threaten the well-being of individuals, families and societies.


… And the figures

— Globally around 21% (over 1 in 5) of young women were married before their 18th birthday.

— 650,000,000 girls and women alive today were married as children.

— 12,000,000 girls under 18 are married each year. And more than 150 million additional girls will marry before their 18th birthday by 2030.


Where most?

UNICEF and UNFPA also report that, across the globe, levels of child marriage are highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, where around 4 in 10 young women were married before age 18, followed by South Asia, where 3 in 10 were married before age 18.

Lower levels of child marriage are found in Latin America and Caribbean (25%), the Middle East and North Africa (17%), and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (11%).

Among a raft of alarming statistics, a UN report has just found that children account for around 28 percent of trafficking victims globally. And that Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and the Caribbean have the highest share of children among detected trafficking victims, at the rates of 64 and 62 percent, respectively.

Let alone that girls are forced by traffickers and smugglers to sexual exploitation. “Sexual tourism has a child face. No country is untouched and no child is immune.”

Child Marriage - 800 Million Girls Forced to Be Mothers | Inter Press Service (

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