The rate at which our world is churning out child brides is amazing. According to Save the Children report, one girl child under the age of 15 is married every seven seconds.
With this figure, an estimated 12,343 girls under the age of 15 are married every day.
According to the study, girls as young as 10 are forced to marry much older men in some countries. These countries include Afghanistan, Yemen, India as well as Somalia.
The NGO says that issues like conflict, poverty and also humanitarian crises are seen as major factors that exposes the girl child to forced child marriage.
“Child marriage starts a cycle of disadvantage that denies girls the most basic rights to learn, develop and be children,” said Save the Children International CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
“Girls who marry too early often can’t attend school, and are more likely to face domestic violence, abuse and rape. They fall pregnant and are exposed to STIs (sexually transmitted infections) as well as HIV.”
It identified countries like Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, as well as Mali as the worst place for the girl child to be based on schooling, child marriage, teen pregnancy and maternal deaths. Somalia was also fingered.
The role of conflict in the increasing child bride scorge
The report says girls affected by conflict are more likely to become brides as children.
It also states that many refugee families marry off their daughters to protect them from poverty or sexual exploitation.
13 year old Syrian refugee who was married to a 20 year old man and is now two months pregnant at 14 years of age is an example. She was interviewed by Save the Child organisation
“The wedding day, I was imagining it would be a great day but it wasn’t. It was all misery. I was sad,” she tod Save the Child.
“I feel really blessed that I am having a baby. But I am a child raising a child.”
The report says that girls fall victim of child marriages and pregnancies during humanitarian crises such as the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
According to the report, shutting down schools in Sierra Leone led to an estimated 14,000 teen pregnancies.
The UN children’s agency, Unicef, estimates that the number of women married in childhood will grow from 700 million today to around 950 million by 2030.
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