Half a million more girls are at risk of forced marriage in the world due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report published by the NGO Save the Children.
“An estimated 500,000 more girls risk being forced into child marriage and as many as one million more are expected to become pregnant in 2020 as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the document says.
The NGO warns of the drastic increase in child marriages that will affect 2.5 million more girls in the next five years.
The increasing risk of violence and sexual exploitation, the report explains, together with economic and food insecurity make parents think that they have no choice but to force their daughters to marry an older man.
“These marriages violate girls’ rights and leave them at increased risk of depression, lifelong violence, disabilities, and even death—including from childbirth, given their bodies simply aren’t ready to bear children,” warns the agency.
Save the Children organization called on world leaders to protect girls at risk so they do not miss out on opportunities, including receiving training and guaranteeing their rights to create the future they want.
Every year more than 12 million girls under the age of 18 around the world are forced to marry, two million of whom do not reach 15 years of age, indicates the NGO.
Among the regions most affected by this social phenomenon are South Asia, West and Central Africa and Latin America.